Proverbs 26:1 (ESV) – Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool.
What a needed word for our culture today! First of all, there are such things as fools. So often today we get the impression that it is so important to affirm people that we must never come to a conclusion that a person is a fool. There are such things and we can hardly be helping them if we try to deny that that is what they are. The Proverbs have much to say about them and none of it is flattering.
Secondly, there are people (fools) for whom honour is a positive evil. It will not help them. It will hurt others and, as this Proverb says, it is simply inappropriate. Do not lavish praise on those who lack wisdom. Foolishness is culpable and what the fool needs is encouragement to get wise, not honour for acting the fool.
A world leader recently made the comment:“[Genesis 1:28] is a licence to exploit the environment. It has contributed to a feeling that the world is entirely man’s to dispose of – as income, rather than as a capital asset which needs husbanding.” Whether he received accolades for saying it, I do not know. But I know that he should not. It is inappropriate, out of season, and the encouragement of more foolishness to come out of his mouth.
Speak wisely and if you ever do anything that others think deserves praise, make sure that it is truly deserving. Live and speak with the wisdom that comes from above.
To be a fool is not inevitable. There is hope for even the fool if he will abandon the foolish thought that he is wise and be willing to learn. The ultimate foolishness is to live one’s life as if there is no God. It took the death of the Son of God to bring people out of that foolishness and it is still the cure and it is still bringing people into true wisdom.
That does not mean that believers never play the fool. There are plenty of followers of Christ who can wear the label “fool” and not be telling a lie. But if they are true believers they at least do not have the mark of the fool that says that they can live without God. It is a great fool who believes and acts according to his own learning and understanding without reference to God.
Today, make sure that it is not a description of you. Show the small part of the world that you travel in that any honour you receive has not been heaped upon a fool.