But if this Ship of Fools has a passenger list, according to the Word of God, our names are on it:
- Are we angry when God seems to bless other people more than He does us? We are fools (Psalm 73:12-22).
- Do you ever sin, thinking that God won’t know it? You are a fool, for God even knows our very thoughts (Psalm 94:8-11)
- Have you slept with another man’s wife? You are certainly a fool. (Proverbs 7:21-23).
- Do I break my vows? I’m a fool (Ecclesiastes 5:4).
- Don’t we all tell lies about our neighbors, family and friends? Fools are us. (Proverbs 10:18)
The list goes on and on in the book of Proverbs and elsewhere in Scripture. Face it, we are all fools. Some of us have even had proverbs written about us: “There is no fool like an old fool,” and “a fool and his money are soon parted.” How often we have gone on a “fool’s errand,” looking for “fool’s gold” by wasting money on Mega Millions lottery tickets?
It is important to identify the fool’s problem. It is not ignorance. A fool knows the difference between right and wrong. He has a conscience, but he does not believe in God. How is it possible then to know something and not believe it? The Bible plainly teaches that all men know God exists:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart as darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. (Romans 1:18-22)
We can know and not believe at the same time because we are able to deceive ourselves. Self-deception does not mean there are two of us inside us. It means that there is a part of us that lies to us, and another part that believes the lie. But the part of us doing the deceiving knows the truth though we’d rather believe the lies (because we want to). We live in willing ignorance.
Foolishness is a stubborn trait only God himself can deliver us from. Have you ever known somebody who lives his life in a self-destructive way and he refuses to listen to you, no matter how obvious the problem seems to be? Don’t you just want to shake him or slap him until he wakes up? Let me give you some unsolicited advice: Don’t do it; it won’t work:
Proverbs 17:10: A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.
The Bible actually warns us over and over to generally ignore the fool and leave him to his own devices. His problem is a moral one, not an intellectual one. We all know people who in the same way refuse to listen to our counsel: stop seeing that guy, he is bad for you; get your finances under control; don’t do drugs, quit procrastinating, but no matter how much we plead with them, they won’t listen to us. C.S. Lewis suggests that we all recognize a lot of people like this, but that we tend to miss the one person who is most stubbornly foolish: ourselves.
If you finally discover what kind of fool you are, let me give you some hope. God will give us a new trainable heart, one that will respond to His Word. If he does not, we will find ourselves just playing the fool. Today, we may found ourselves being taken in by some practical joke or a hoax, but let us not suffer the real foolishness in our own hearts so gladly (Corinthians 11:19).