I used to listen to political talk radio and watch political TV talk shows. But I got tired of the arguing back and forth. And I noticed that no matter how logical or well-thought-out an argument was (on either side), seldom (if ever) was an opponent persuaded to listen objectively. And often, both sides ended up looking foolish.
So when I read verses 4 and 5 in chapter 26 today, I was reminded how silly it is to argue with a fool. Here are the verses again: 4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.
I like the way the Easy to Read Version renders these two verses: There is no good way to answer fools when they say something stupid. If you answer them, then you, too, will look like a fool. If you don’t answer them, they will think they are smart.
So what are we to do? I guess it depends on the situation. If possible, I think that it is good to avoid the fool altogether. But if that isn’t possible, then don’t engage them in conversation that brings out the foolish in them.
There are people in my life whom I consider to be foolish. Come on. Let’s be honest here. Most of us have this type of person in our lives that we are forced to have contact with. My way of dealing with these people is to just be polite. We talk about the weather or other mundane things that don’t really matter. I know that if we get into the deep water, nothing but trouble will ensue. If they bring up a subject that I think will go the wrong way, I’ll just smile politely and let them drone on until I can gracefully make an exit.
Same thing online. I don’t engage in debates there, either. As they say, “Don’t feed the trolls.”