A Prayer for Dealing with a Foolish Person

Have you ever experienced conflict with a foolish person? Chances are great that if you have lived for any length of time, you have. It is one of the most exasperating and unproductive of experiences to have any involvement with a foolish person.

Foolishness is the opposite of wisdom. The Bible says a great deal about both wisdom and foolishness.

My favorite story on the subject is that of Nabal, Abigail, and David as recorded in I Samuel 25. Nabal was a very foolish man. In fact, the name Nabal means fool. Nabal was married to Abigail. The Bible tells us that Abigail was a sensible and beautiful woman.

In the story, David and his men have moved to the wilderness of Maon near Carmel and encamped near the wealthy Nabal at the time of sheep-shearing. When David heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep, he sent some of his men to speak kindly to Nabal and ask for food in exchange for the kindness he had shown to Nabal’s shepherds. David’s men had acted as a shield for Nabal’s shepherds—protecting them from harm and theft. Nabal responded in his typical, foolish fashion, refusing David’s request and spouting off in anger. When David heard Nabal’s response, he told his men to get their swords.

But, Abigail was a wise woman. When she heard what her husband had done, she set to work immediately, sending a great deal of food to David and his men. When she encountered David, she bowed before him and acknowledged the foolishness of her husband and entreated David for forgiveness and mercy toward her household. David blessed Abigail and spared Nabal’s household.

Upon learning what happened, Nabal had a stroke and was struck dead ten days later. When the news of Nabal’s death reached David, he remembered Abigail and made her his wife.

Matthew 7:24-27 says, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

You may have sung a song about this passage as a child in Sunday School. As an adult, it has even more meaning.

If you are struggling with conflict due to the behavior of one or more foolish people, prayer can help you. You can ask God to give you strength and guidance. He will not allow his righteous to be moved.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Help me not to waste my breath on foolish people (Proverbs 23:9). Remind me, Father, that neither my time, money, or energy need to be spent on foolish people because they will return to their foolishness as a dog returning to its vomit (Proverbs 26:11).

But, Father, may I yet be filled with Your wisdom, and may it be enshrined in Your understanding (Proverbs 14:33).

I love Your discipline and correction, Father. I long to be brought into a place of total devotion and dependence upon You. Lord, we praise You for teaching us Your precepts and Your ways, for they lead only to life.

Give us patience, Father, and help us to guard our thoughts and our mouths when we encounter foolish people in the course of life. May we not give time or air to foolish conflicts in our life.

Forgive us for times when we have behaved foolishly. Keep us firmly planted in You at all times.

We ask all these things in Your perfect, holy name.

AMEN.

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