Flee From Foolishness
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20
One of the first pieces of advice a parent will tell their child heading off to school is “Be careful who you choose as friends!” I’ve often struggled with what this should look like when the Bible is clear on not judging others. We further complicate this as Christians by confusing walking in grace and forgiveness with keeping foolish companions. I recently heard this quote in church, “You can love and forgive a thief, but you don’t have to hand him your checkbook.” I think this accurately describes the safe distance we can keep from foolishness.
Since we live in a culture that often confuses knowledge and ignorance with wisdom and foolishness, we should go to the Bible for clear guidelines of what a fool looks like.
- “People with a hot temper do foolish things; wiser people remain calm.” (Proverbs 14:17)
- “The fool who provokes his family to anger and resentment will finally have nothing worthwhile left. He shall be the servant of a wiser man.” (Proverbs 11:29).
- “Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but provocation by a fool is heavier than both.” (Proverbs 27:3)
I have walked in danger of being a fool, being the companion of fools, and suffering the provocation of a fool throughout times in my life. (Proverbs 26:3-12). I’ve learned “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” (I Corinthians 15:33). I have further seen how keeping foolish companions can keep those behaving foolishly from turning to Christ. Let’s all search for wisdom by befriending the wise who grow with us in living the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Dr. Beth Ackerman is the Associate Dean, School of Education, at Liberty University.