I’ll never forget meeting Jan Silvious. We were sharing the speaking at a retreat. Jan was speaking on her classic book: Foolproofing Your Life.
I listened with rapt attention for a young woman whom I’ll call Laura, and for whom I care deeply, had been charmed by a young man who was displaying the characteristics Jan said were consistent in a fool. Laura was confused for she had met this young man at a Christian gathering where he had charmed his way into leadership, but Jan explained that fools may be religious, and be leaders, as Saul was, but in their hearts, they say “There is no God.” Saul spoke often of God, but was intent on murdering David, and, as 1 John 3:15 says, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.” I and Laura’s friends had witnessed this young man’s out of control anger, and had each warned Laura, but she pleaded with us to give him grace, feeling he was just under pressure. When I asked Jan what I could do, she said to pray, and that when Laura felt enough pain, she might be willing to listen — and that then Jan would be happy to talk to her.
That finally happened and Laura called Jan. Jan predicted every move this young man was going to make over the next few weeks. The first thing Jan told Laura was: “A fool wants complete control over you. So though this young man has told you it is over between you because you did not do what he wanted, but held firm to your convictions, it is not over. Though he was the one who wronged you, he always believes the other was wrong, for a fool is always right in his own eyes. He’s going to call you in the next few days and tell you he’s willing to forgive you and take you back, but there will be some astounding demands that go with this.” Three days later that is exactly what happened. At that point, Laura trusted Jan. God used Jan and others to set Laura free. When it was over, Laura asked Jan: “Will he one day come to his senses and realize what he lost?” Jan said, unless God intervened, he would not, for a fool is always right in his own eyes and returns to his folly like a dog returns to his vomit.” And that is what this young man has done, continuing to charm and deceive, wrecking havoc in ministries and in the lives of naive believers, By his middle twenties, he was in his third marriage and teaching ethics at a Catholic school. His charm and destruction continues. Jan said she has seen a very small percentage of fools truly converted when enormous pain comes into their lives as a result of their sin — so there is always hope, for nothing is impossible with God.
I long to help those who are suffering from not knowing how to protect themselves from a fool in their life –whether that is a close friend, a parent, a spouse, or a child.
If you have just joined us, please read the opening to last week’s blog — for it is a serious matter to label someone as a fool. We must be cautious.
We will also be continuing our “God Hunts.” I had a wonderful one last week which I shared on my author Facebook page and will share again here, for just as the characteristics of a fool are consistent, so are the characteristics of a genuine believer in Christ. Here is what I wrote:
Sometimes you just know someone is a sister in Christ. This woman, Lekesha, (the mama in the picture) came to my rescue yesterday when I locked my keys in my car far from home. After just a few minutes I asked her, “Are you a Christian?” She laughed and and we embraced as only sisters in Christ can. She stayed with me for an hour until the locksmith she found came to open the door. Blest be the tie that binds!
Why did I suspect Lekesha was a believer? I saw the fruit of Christ in her. Her face was radiant, as she crossed the parking lot to come and help me. When I asked her if she had time she said, “Absolutely” (though she actually had an appointment.) She was calm and I could tell she was determined to stay by my side until I was out of my predicament. That’s when I asked her if she was a Christian.
A fool is concerned only about himself, a true believer is other-centered and lives sacrificially, like Jesus.
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- As a review, why must we be cautious before deciding someone is a fool?
- How have you seen God move in your life in the last 24 hours?
Monday: 3 Biblical Characteristics of a Fool
Jan told me, “I think I was born to write “Fool-Proofing.” She has rescued so many — so if you are up close and personal with a fool, help is on the way. First, you must recognize the characteristics of a true fool according to Proverbs — for we all behave foolishly at times, but these characteristics are consistent in the life of a fool. Watch this short video from Jan where she lists 3 of the common characteristics of a fool. There are other characteristics we will discover, but let’s start with these. And remember — hold the mirror up to yourself — just in case you are a fool or have a tendency to behave in certain ways like one.
4. What stands out to you from the above and why?
5. What three basic characteristics of a fool does Jan list?
6. Share a God Hunt from the last 24 hours.
Tuesday: A Fool Is Always Right
Because a fool thinks he is always right, he doesn’t listen to advice or pursue wisdom. He feels he has no need of it. He also doesn’t need to repent, for he is sure he is never wrong.
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- What do you learn from about a fool from the following Proverbs?
A. Proverbs 1:7
B. Proverbs 1:22
C. Proverbs 12:15
3. What characteristic do the above proverbs have in common?.
4. Share a way God has moved in your life in the last day.
5. Holding the mirror up to yourself to see if you have a tendency toward this, answer:
A. Share a time when you refused wisdom and regretted it. (Regret is a good sign!)
B. Share a time when you received wisdom and repented.
Wednesday: A Fool Uses Anger to Control
6. What do you learn about a fool from the following proverbs?
A. Proverbs 12:16
B. Proverbs 17:12
C. Proverbs 20:3
D. Proverbs 29:11
7. What characteristic of a fool to the above proverbs have in common?
8. Holding the mirror up to ourselves:
A. When have you lost your temper and regretted it?
B. When has the Spirit of God helped you to control your anger? Be specific.
9. God Hunt?
Thursday: A Fool Trusts in His Own Heart
10. Have you recognized the deceitfulness of your own heart? If so, give some examples.
11. How have you seen God at work in your life in revealing your own weakness to yourself?
Friday: Upside Down Wisdom From The World
The wisdom of Christ is upside down from the world, and was different from any other religion. He tells us to forgive our enemies, to trust, not in ourselves, but in Him, and to lay down our lives for our brothers. Our own hearts are not trustworthy, but Christ is.
12. Read 1 John 4:1-6
A. How can you recognize the Spirit of God according to verses 2-3?
B. How can you recognize who is from God according to verses 5-6?
13. God Hunt?
14. What is your take-a-way this week and why?