Today, we close out this 4-part mini-session on the topic of fools. To begin....
Remember the biblical definition of a fool, given three posts ago: a person who despises the wisdom of God. (Proverbs 1:7) (Psalm 14:1)
But, there is a continuum, a range.
People can range from being an utter fool, who declares there is no God, no moral authority based in scripture, and who live their lives according to what they believe to be right. And, at the other end of the continuum are those who believe in God, revealed through His Son, Jesus Christ, but at times ignore certain aspects of His wisdom.
1. The atheist
2. The well-meaning Christian who is tempted by some physical substance. He/she knows that the substance is harmful to the body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. But, oh how delightful that sin is! Accordingly, he/she falls into it, at least occasionally.
The first example lives continually in the realm of foolishness. The second lapses into foolishness from time to time.
And, there are all kinds of degrees in between these two extremes.
Knowing and loving an utter fool is the epitome of heartbreak. Most of us have at least a passing acquaintance with one and can "see" that person (or persons) in our minds' eyes right now. What does the Bible tell us about hope for these acquaintances, friends, loved ones?
At first glance, it does not look good.
Proverbs 10:8 tells us that the end of an utter fool is utter ruin.
However, I remind you that all people are fools at one time or another. Before coming to Jesus Christ, we who are now His beloved, were completely lost, the biggest fools ever! And, He rescued and saved us!
3For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:3-7 (ESV)
Can we just stop, Christians, and praise Him and love on Him for that! Oh, Hallelujah!
This is part of the heartbreak of loving an utter fool. We want our loved one to know that joy and peace which come from a relationship with the Lover of Their Souls!
Ok, so let's begin with what NOT to do in "turning a fool".
1. Do not quarrel with her about her viewpoint. This will get you nowhere.
If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
Proverbs 29:9 (ESV)
Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
Proverbs 9:7 (ESV)This does not mean that you should not attempt to persuade, have civil discussion, share books, etc.
It does mean that you should not allow yourself to descend to their foolish methods of uncivil quarreling. Any attempts at persuasion should be done with love and respect.
2. Do not embrace a fool as a cherished friend, because the fool's foolishness will taint your Christian walk. This is a hard one to accept. But, you will not "turn a fool" by hanging out with him and participating in his foolishness. Foolishness is seductive. You may find yourself believing worldly philosophies as a result. When the Bible says, "Bad company corrupts good morals", it means it. This is especially a pitfall of dating. I cannot tell you how many of my friends over the years have lamented because, as a Christian, they dated a non-Christian, whom they eventually married. And, their spouse's indifference or downright hostility to the love of God broke their hearts.
Don't "go there" in your cherished relationships. Again, foolishness is seductive. (Proverbs 9:13-17)
Here's another verse along those lines:
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 13:20 (ESV)
So, where is the hope for a fool? What CAN you do?
Let's look back at the verses from Titus. Notice verses 4 and 5.
It is God who turns the heart of fool to Him.
While He can use us, it is His Holy Spirit who ultimately does the conversion of a fool to a saint.
Our role in turning a fool is as follows:
1. Demonstrate the love of Christ.
Help, but don't enable. Forgive. Be generous. Be humble. Be Jesus in their lives. You may be the only Jesus she ever sees!
2. Pray earnestly.
I don't mean occasionally pray. Labor in prayer for him!
Pray that she will get weary of her foolishness.
Ecclesiastes 10:15 tells us that "the struggles of fools wear them out". Sometimes, people have to get to the absolute bottom before they will look up to God. While we never want our loved ones to have to experience, pain, loss, devastation or despair. Those may be tools God will use to draw him or her to Himself. Pray "whatever it takes, Lord Jesus, to draw them to You." (1 Corinthians 5:5)
Pray that the "goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior" will appear to her.
Pray that the eyes of his heart will be opened.
As you are led, even fast and pray. Let your prayers storm the gates of Heaven on behalf of your foolish friend.
The Lord knows your heartbreak. He has felt it untold quadrillions of times over, due to the waywardness of HIS beloved....
3. Praise and Trust
When you get "down" over the spiritual state of your friend, praise your Savior! Praise Him for His great love and for His sovereign will in each of our lives.
And, then trust Him.
It is very hard to trust God when you see someone you love wallowing in folly, like a pig rolls in muddy filth and grunts with enjoyment, when you see a loved one careening off a cliff to destruction.
You may not like the path God sovereignly has your friend on; but, you can still praise Him for it.
Remember this: our heartfelt praise breaks spiritual strongholds, breaks the chains of the enemy. Our magnificent God "shows up and shows out" when we praise and trust Him!
3Then Jesus told them this parable: 4“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
21“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’
Luke 15:3-7, 21-24 (NIV)
Lord, I'm amazed by You.
Now, unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before His presence with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever, amen.