#2 While communicating with others, fools don’t think – they just react.
I have recently been in a situation where I have witnessed this aspect of foolishness in its finest form. When people have an agenda, there is no genuine listening and therefore, even less understanding. For the past two weeks, I have watched foolish men and women react in frustration and anger because they want their way and they want it now.
The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense and shows everyone how stupid he is. Ecclesiastes 10.2,3 NIV
These are strong words but they provide a poignant picture of how foolishness looks. Scripture says that “a fool exposes his folly” (Proverbs 13.16). He is “hot headed and reckless.” (Proverbs 14.16)
Sometimes it’s better to react with no reaction. Better yet, it’s better to respond…to breathe, step back, think and then respond. This takes self discipline and the ability to see the bigger picture. Victor Frankl was a concentration camp survivor during the Holocaust and he said the following: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth.”
There is wisdom in his words. Victor Frankl is saying that we don’t need to accept reflexive reactions. Instead, we can learn to notice and work with this “space” before we react and ultimately regret. There can be so much wreckage when we fill that space with unbridled reactions.
There is something to be said about those “time-outs” that we give our children when they are misbehaving. The motivation for providing the “time-out” is love. The parent wants to separate the child from the stimulus – offer time and distance – offer space.
There is a better, more loving and more compassionate response when we are “others-centered” in our relationships. The God-honoring response doesn’t come easily but there is always “space” to turn to Him and ask for His help and direction.
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. Proverbs 29.11 NIV