If you decided to place a want-ad for a fool, you could find many of the characteristics listed in Proverbs 18.
“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Proverbs 18:1-2
What a fool is like: verses 1-2
Verses 1 and 2 provide some steps for the making of an idiot (the Greek word for “idiot” literally means “one’s own,” or “seeking oneself.”). The formation of a fool is a straightforward process. He/she begins wrapped in a silky cocoon of selfishness. Over time the self-focus incubates and procedures self-obsession. Once fully self-focused the fool grows wings of self-deception, breaks free and flutters about pollinating, or polluting, any flower it can. The following are ways to recognize the flight path of a fool as it flits about.
- They have no affection for others, only self. 1a
- They have no affinity for wise judgement; they argue against it. 1b
- They have no delight in discernment; they avoid it. 2a
- They have no filter; they divulge everything they feel and imagine. 2b
What a fool does: 6-7, 14, 17
- They can’t leave well enough along. They run full throttle into trouble. This is usually done with their tongue, or text messages. 6a
- They can’t avoid an argument. They beg for contention and trouble. They see an argument as an opportunity to share their “brilliance.” 6a
- They can’t help hurting themselves, and thus others. 6b
- They can’t control their mouths, or text messages, even to the point of ruin. 7 The Hebrew word for this is “adolescent!” Hehe.
- They cannot practice discernment, or listen. 13 They answer before they hear, they sound off before before they understand. They do not have “ears to hear.”
- They cannot be trusted. 17 Typically, a fool has done wrong and is the first to plead his/her case about how he/she has been done wrong. This is a verse to study and bury into your mind and soul. Fools and liars (the same) are the first in line to plead their case. They will often not tell the whole story, or flat out lie. Here is the application: when someone seeks you out to tell their side of a situation, graciously get away.
As a discerning reader you have noticed that each of the characteristics and actions of a fool have been stated in the negative, “They have not/cannot.” That is on purpose. The reason is to help you see how self-focus, then self-obsession, and self-deception works. It weakens people to the point of them being unable to correct themselves, even to the point of self ruin. That is the sad truth. You can lead a fool to water, but you cannot make him drink from the Fountain of Truth.
Recognizing the characteristics and actions of fools listed above will equip you to spot them more quickly and run from them more swiftly.