“Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words.”
Words of truth and wisdom will bounce off the ears of fools. Even worse, speaking to fools will often trigger their hostility. Fools are afraid of truth and wisdom. It says they “despise” common sense. This is particularly true if sensible words involve a critique of a fool’s behavior.
We are counseled to avoid speaking to fools, because trying to get them to respond to common sense is futile. When a person is caught in the trap of foolishness, truth makes them angry. For that reason, speaking to a fool is pointless. This is true in person, and it is true online. Engaging with a fool via social media is itself an act of foolishness.
“A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.” (Proverbs 15:12)
Jesus speaks to this in the sermon on the mount: “Don’t give what is holy to unholy people. Don’t give pearls to swine! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” (Matt. 7.6).
As you will recall, the book of Proverbs refers to stubbornly foolish people as scoffers. These are people who love their own thoughts, and they operate from an attitude of self-centered arrogance. They scoff at anything that is not their idea. They resent being told they are wrong, and their arrogance about their opinions makes them the worse kind of fool. Scoffers do not and will not seek the insight of wise people; they think they already know it all.
“Scoffer is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.” (Proverbs 21.24
The kingdom of God puts a very high priority on wisdom and discipline with regard to all forms of communication. What you say, how you say it, and why you say it are enormously important.
Communication is the central currency of human interaction. Communication is how we share what we think and express how we feel. It is how we work together to set goals and develop plans and strategies. It is how we identify issues and concerns, and how we solve problems together. It is how we challenge and hold each other accountable; it is how we encourage and support one another; it is how we discuss, debate, and persuade in the pursuit of truth.
Given the importance that communication plays in virtually everything we do, wisdom and discipline are essential. The message in the two proverbs above is clear: Be wise. Be disciplined. Exercise verbal restraint and stay away from fools who reject common sense.