1 Peter 2:15-16: For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.

In the Lord’s eyes a fool is a person who lives in God’s world but refuses to admit that God exists. This is why we read in Psalm 14:1:

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”

Basically this means a fool denies the obvious and does not acknowledge reality.

In his lifetime the apostle Peter wrote several letters to his congregations, two of which are recorded in the New Testament. The young congregations had to deal with a lot of harassment and intimidation. Jesus was officially declared dead. Why? He died for all to see on the cross. His death was no secret. It was a public event.

All humans die. So did Jesus. But then He rose on the third day. Saying the resurrection is real would be admitting that Jesus is beyond human – in other words He is the Son of God. The Romans who guarded the tomb of the Lord saw Jesus step out of His grave. Back then people contested this spectacular piece of information as people do these days. Again we see the pattern of a fool here: closing the eyes to the truth.

People who publicly spoke about the resurrection of Jesus Christ were openly opposed and persecuted. The apostle Peter gets to the point and says rather than fighting the opposition believers should be focusing on doing good. The blessings of a productive child of God would eventually silence the bad rumors the enemies of the kingdom of God were trying to spread. Deeds speak louder than words.

In God’s point of view, the end does not justify the means – never has and never will be. “Live as free people,” Peter says, “but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” The Crusaders back then had it all wrong and unfortunately, the Crusader’s breed hasn’t died out just yet. Make no mistake about it: Wherever we see Christians follow the wrong mantra corruption sets in. It is ironic that nowadays the worst opposition seems to come from people claiming to be Christians. But then, it’s not surprising. After all, Jesus was betrayed and delivered into the hands of the Roman authorities by His own people. And it seems that history is doomed to repeat itself.

Now that we are in the 21st century, the followers of the Way the Truth and the Life are active all over the globe. Unfortunately, wide-spread Christianity does not necessarily mean that foolishness is on the decline. We need to remember that the word “Christianity” in itself is just a label. As in Peter’s days Christians are asked to fill this label with positive meaning. Instead of focusing all our energies on opposing the opposition we want to be focused on doing the Lord’s will.

The Lord loves people. His heart goes out to them. We do God’s will when we help people and have their best interest at heart. So let’s do this. Let’s be a blessing to our contemporaries.

Psalm 14:1: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”

Why would King David start out a prayer commenting on human foolishness? My guess is he was called a fool by someone. Prayer is a great way of working through insult. Nobody likes to be called a fool, but everybody feels like one sometimes.

Those of us who feel like a fool, most likely are not foolish. One of the trademarks of fools is their habit of fooling themselves. Their oblivion to their own foolish behavior points to bad self-assessment. Poor listening skills are another common feature of a fool.

Grooming our listening skills is a great way to grow wiser; God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason – we should listen twice before speaking up – but sometimes we talk for two instead of pausing to lend one ear.

While my husband and I were recording our Christmas album we wanted to come up with background vocals for most of our songs. There is no way we could have created any decent harmony without first listening to the lead vocal. And after the first harmony track was laid down, the second harmony had to listen to both lead vocal and first harmony to be able to mesh. A multilayered rich harmony was the ultimate result.

What is true for the sound of music is also true for human interactions. We need to listen before we talk. Without listening we are not having a conversation but a talking match, and the person who has the last word, wins – not really! When everybody talks and nobody listens, everybody loses and nobody gains anything. People who only listen to themselves talk will eventually come to a dead end. Narcissistic tendencies lead to full time foolishness.

Make no mistake about it: Somebody calling you a fool may be the person giving you a wake-up call. But then again, depending on who is not listening – it may be the very person calling you a fool who is foolish. Listening to the Spirit of God, we learn and grow in wisdom every day. This will not prevent us from being called a fool every now and then. But we will have the humility and wherewithal to discern who the fool is.