The Path of Fools
A fool spurns his father's discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence (Pro. 15:5). He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding (Pro. 15:32).
The Bible speaks of folks who cannot abide rebuke or any form of criticism no matter how compassionately it may be offered. The Holy Spirit describes them as reckless, wisdom-spurning, self-despising fools.
Can we arrive at a point wherein we're so averse to correction that we would close our hearts to it, even when it would allow us to draw closer to God and have a greater understanding of His Word? Yes.
When we find ourselves in such a position, our pride is getting in the way––"in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls" (Jas. 1:21).
How sad that we allow pride to keep us from improving our own lot. We cut off our nose to spite our face, rather than calmly, soberly listen to biblical counsel.
There is a direct correlation between gaining wisdom and one's willingness to first hear and then carefully evaluate correction––"fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Pro. 1:7).
Even if the criticism is groundless, we might learn how our decisions look to others, and a moment of sincere self-examination is never wasted.
We cripple our spiritual growth by refusing to honestly consider adverse criticism, or worse––rejecting it out of hand when it comes from reliable, loving sources. Again I point to Proverbs: "Don't waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice” (Pro. 23:9).
It is rank and flagrant egotism to think no one could understand as well as ourselves, or that we know as much or more than anyone else about any matter.
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered (Pro. 28:26). Looking inward, using mere human judgement to form our beliefs and conclusions, betrays our foolishness.
Fools hastily and heedlessly form their opinions, yet vehemently defend them when anyone comes honestly challenging or questioning their conclusions––"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice" (Pro. 12:15).
Fools are absurdly defensive, not because they're deeply principled or because their beliefs have been thoroughly vetted by Scripture, but because their self-esteem is threatened––"A fool’s anger is known at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult" (Pro. 12:16).
If we find ourselves unwilling to examine the origins of our convictions or resentful of the very idea, it's time to hit the brakes. Because we're headed down the path of fools.
Satan would much rather we didn't see ourselves in the "rebellious, stiff-necked" examples we read so much about in Scripture. He would rather we cling to every flimsy excuse possible to justify ourselves rather than "examine all things carefully" (1 Thess. 5:21).
He enjoys it when we waste our time finding fault with circumstances or the "mean ol' brethren", so we can lay all our failures and disappointments at the feet of others. Yes, he'd rather we do ANYTHING but confront our own dishonesty, pride, and destructive decision-making paradigms.
"How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?" (Pro. 1:22). Fools simply don't learn. They refuse to. So the death-spiral of self-centered, self-destructive, self-glorifying behavior continues. I don't want anyone to be found in such a sad, damnable state on Judgement Day.
Jesus is the "power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:24). When your steps, decisions, thoughts, and attitudes are ordered after His Gospel, He will "deliver you from all your transgressions;" He will not allow you to be a fool or "the reproach of fools" (Ps. 39:8).