There is a big difference between saying someone is a fool, and saying what they are doing is foolish.
The first is a condemnation of the person, and quite brutal. The second is an affirmation of them as a person, but a condemnation of their behaviour. Potentially, if listened to, will rescue them, and is love.
The Bible talks about the foolishness of the cross – but that is rather tongue in cheek. It was something that appeared foolish, but turned out to be an amazing rescue package that noone was expecting. Who’d have thought that faith in Jesus would actually cause a complete spiritual transformation, and restore a relationship with the living God? Foolishness indeed!!
It also says that the ‘fool in his heart says there is no God.’ Now that is rather condemnatory – but it is a description of what has happened, and its tragedy, in the same way that Jesus spoke of those who chose not to trust him. He didn’t condemn them, but said that their actions did.
We looked at Galatians 3:3 tonight. Here’s the The Message version, with verses 2 and 4 thrown in for free:
2-4 Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness (foolishness)? For only crazy (foolish) people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!
Let’s be wise, and avoid this foolishness!