When you read the scripture in proverbs 22:15, you will easily assume that it is talking about children. I did fall for that interpretation too at first.
Later on, I read it again and I had a baffling revelation that I will share with today. It was funny. I remember laughing about it and I still do to this day whenever I read this scripture.
The truth is everyone is a fool to some level. According to proverbs 22:15, a person is born when his foolishness is at the peak.
The Foolishness of Children
That is why children do stupid things. A child will pour on herself sand just because it feels good in the moment. She does not care about the effects of what she does.
Children will pick up anything and put it in the mouth. They don’t care whether it is edible or not. That shows just how much foolishness children have.
We excuse the behavior of children because we know they have very little knowledge. When King Solomon says the rod of discipline will drive foolishness from a child, he is right.
Children must be punished to remove foolishness. The form of punishment is not necessarily caning. Any form of pain is discipline for a child.
If a child tries to touch a hot stove, the stove will punish the child for her foolishness. The stove will remove the foolishness of thinking everything is a toy.
It is as if the stove is saying ‘I am not your ordinary toy miss’. Most of the discipline for a child comes from external things.
The parent mainly protects the child from extreme discipline that may discourage the child from learning. A child who is electrocuted by a power socket will have unhealthy fear for electric sockets.
That fear will stop the child from ever using electric sockets. But in life, as much as we have fear for electric sockets, we must use them.
If the child stops using electric sockets because of the harsh discipline they got, they will not learn other lessons that require them to use electric sockets.
A child may resent electric appliances just because they are afraid of anything involving electric sockets.
Therefore, as much as discipline for a child is necessary, it has to be within the limits.
Proverbs 22:15 for Adults
Reading this article as an adult may leave you questioning what is the essence of all this to you. The truth is you still have foolishness in you regardless of your age.
We spend all our lives trying to remove the foolishness that we were born with. If you learn fast, you remove big chunks of foolishness faster than your age mates do.
Unfortunately, the only way to learn fast is to feel pain and heal from it fast. A child who loses her mother at an early age will have a painful childhood but when it is time to move away from home, she will find it easy.
All her life, she has trained how to live without parental support. At the time when parental care is to stop, for her it is the usual way of life. The pain she experienced taught her a lesson that people who grew up with their parents struggle with.
A child who gets too much attention from parents and experiences little pain in life will have a difficult time when it comes time to move out of his parents’ house.
They will have to embrace the pain of the world on their own for the first time. The pain will be hard to cope with since they have never experienced that kind of pain before.
It is the responsibility of every individual to make sure he is exposed to a manageable amount of pain all the time. Whenever you become too comfortable, chances are you are pampering the foolishness that is bound in your heart.
A wise saying that I love states ‘Comfort like a plush couch hard to uncurl out of makes one lazy.’
A man who sleeps all day and only wakes up to watch TV is pampering his foolishness.
Such a man will barely get a girlfriend or make any money. Getting a girlfriend involves removing certain foolish ideologies from our hearts. Ideologies that are bound in our hearts from birth.
That is why it may take several painful breakups to remove deep-seated foolishness to make one ready for marriage.
You may have to lose money in many deals for you to remove the foolishness of trusting people too much with your money. The quicker you learn, the faster you grow.
Any pain you avoid allows you to keep your foolishness for a longer time.
Too Much Foolishness
Anyone who becomes too lazy to work on removing foolishness from his heart eventually dies. The same book of proverbs 29:1 says that a man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will perish without remedy.
Imagine a drunkard who keeps drinking even after doctors and his family warn him of his behavior. Eventually, he will crash with his car when driving under influence and die.
Anytime someone rejects a rebuke just because it is painful, he piles up his foolishness. Once the piled up foolishness gets to a critical mass, it snaps.
It takes a lot of foolishness for someone to die. The book of Ecclesiastes mentions that fools die before their time. There is a certain time when a person is set to die. Dying in that manner has nothing to do with foolishness.
Most deaths that are a result of piled up foolishness are things like being stabbed for having an affair with another man’s wife, someone who is shot because he conned another person, a man who crashes with a super bike because he hits 200 mph without a helmet etc
There is a program I once watched called a thousand ways to die. It showed how people died for doing stupid things. It is a perfect illustration of how too much foolishness will kill a man.
How to deal with Foolishness in your heart
The unfortunate way that most people remove foolishness is through pain inflicted on them from stupid actions they do. It is almost inevitable to go through such.
But you can minimize painful experiences by learning from other people. In short, gather as much knowledge as you can before you face situations.
For example, you can learn about the major causes of breakups before you start dating. That way, you will avoid many breakups that you would have gone through had you not learned early.
Be an inquisitive person to enrich your mind. Read books, read blogs like what you are doing right now, watch YouTube videos with important lessons and anything that will help you remove foolishness from your heart.
However, there are other lessons you can only learn by experience. For such unique lessons, the best you can do is to know they are coming.
One such unique lesson is death of loved ones. Death is one of the hardest lessons that people learn. As much as you care for the people around you, know that one day they may go and leave you.
In such a case, you can learn to limit how much dependence you have on them. Most of the time, the people close to us not only separate from us because of death but also life issues.
A friend whom you depend on to rescue you whenever you are in a financial crisis may get a girlfriend who restricts him from helping you.
All of a sudden, the security you had is gone. Therefore, for basic things like finances and emotions try as much as you can to have at least more than 50% control.
Be sure that if you lose people who help you in specific areas, you won’t be doomed. You may be a teenager and wondering what to do to have more control over your life.
The good news is that for children, if they lose people who support them, they will easily get other people to help.
Children depend on their parents for vital things such as emotions. If they don’t see their parents they cannot have peace. If their parents leave, naturally, human beings have pity on children.
People will easily come to rescue them. God has everything balanced out.
You are Always at Risk
The risk of experiencing pain will never cease as long as you are alive. At every moment there will be something that can cause you pain.
If you have a spouse, he can leave you. Parents can mistreat you. Friends can betray you and so on. Anything that gives you comfort has the ability to cause you pain.
Despite this sad truth, you can still enjoy life. A risk of losing a spouse does not necessarily mean you will lose them. Knowing that such a risk exists is enough.
Jesus the only sure Foundation
The only sure foundation is Jesus Christ. With Him, you can be sure He will be available at any time. It is important to have a strong relationship with Jesus.
You may have heard a song that says ‘Jesus is a rock in a weary land’. Sure enough, everything else in life is like a weary land and the only rock in that land is Jesus.
If you don’t find that rock, you are constantly sinking. A man may try to use all manner of things as backup plans for his life but eventually he will lose it.
Such kind of a person has foolishness that must come out. For the case of Job in the Bible, God wanted to teach us that there is no security in life apart from Him.
That is why all the things that gave Job comfort disappeared. All that Job was left with was hope in God. His very own wife also turned against him.
If you are reading this and you don’t have a solid relationship with God, go start one right away. We know that the opposite of foolishness is wisdom. The Bible states in Psalms that a fool says there is no God.
In short, a fool denies the existence of the only solid rock in a weary land even when that rock is the only thing that can save him. He will certainly sink.
The endless pain we experience on earth is God trying to teach us that salvation is only from Him. We all have the foolishness of thinking that earthly things can be security just as God is.
That thinking reduces God to being an object. But because God loves us and He wants us to revere Him so that he can save us from hell, he allows us to go through pain to remove our foolishness.
Don’t be a fool according to the standards of the Bible. Let the world call you a fool who believes in ‘non-existent’ theories but in the end, you save your life.
Paul the apostle mentions that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. Such people have held on to the foolishness in their hearts and they try to avert pain so that they can keep their foolishness.
Don’t be one of them.
Our hearts are full of foolish ideas. It takes pain to remove them. Wise people expose themselves to reasonable pain frequently to remove foolishness from their hearts.
The nature of creation is never going to change. For you to be wise, you must have a relationship with God. Pain will always be there as long as we live but we can learn to enjoy life if we have a solid foundation in Christ.
Always remember that pain is the process of foolishness leaving the body. Endure it and you will enjoy its fruit.