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Proverbs 26:4-5 – How to Communicate with a Fool

Do not answer [nor pretend to agree with the frivolous comments of] a [closed-minded] fool according to his folly, Otherwise you, even you, will be like him. Answer [and correct the erroneous concepts of] a fool according to his folly, Otherwise he will be wise in his own eyes [if he thinks you agree with him].

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Reflective Thinking

If we come across a situation where it is required that we respond to a fool, this proverb teaches us communication wisdom. First thing, we should not answer (or agree) with a fool and his foolishness. After that, we are instructed that if we do choose to respond, we are to answer a fool with wisdom and correct their mistaken foolishness. The difficult part is to discern when it’s important to correct the fool. Conversely, in most cases and with most people it’s better to correct in private. I believe making that choice and responding with wisdom and love to a fool will require the Holy Spirit. The core wisdom here is that we need help from God to communicate at our best.

Action Idea

Don’t take the easy path and respond with emotion and foolishness when talking with a fool. Instead, ask God for an increase in wisdom and for Him to help you through situations where you come across foolish people. Remember, sometimes the wisest thing you can do when responding to a fool is not say anything, especially if you are not led be the Spirit and confident in what you’re going to be saying.