Single Christians often ask, “What character qualities should I look for in a future spouse?” To which we reply, “Search the Scriptures and see what God commends.” But there is another equally important question to ask: “Is He or She a Fool?” To which Joel James provides the following sound response.
Pursuing a marriage-kind-of-relationship with a fool is dooming yourself to misery and harm: “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). But how can you know if the guy or girl you’re interested in is someone God would call a fool? Let me give you a list of verses that will help:
“He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool” (Proverbs 10:18). A fool tells lies and spreads slander, saying untrue or hurtful things to protect him- or herself or to get at others. If the person you are interested in has a lying or abrasive tongue, scratch him or her off your list immediately.
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel” (Proverbs 12:15). The fool is conceited, always thinking he or she is right. Thus, this person refuses to be corrected. Who wants to pursue a marriage kind-of-relationship with someone who refuses to admit he or she is wrong?
“A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother” (Proverbs 15:20). Fools often have bad relationships with their parents. If someone speaks disrespectfully to or about his or her parents (or treats them badly in any other way), stay away. How this person treats his or her family reveals how he or she will treat you once the facade of dating politeness is dropped.
“A fool’s lips bring strife, and his mouth calls for blows” (Proverbs 18:6). Have you noticed an increased level of conflict with your family and friends since you started dating someone? Is he or she often the vortex of those conflicts? Maybe you are dating a fool, because fools are always surrounded by a thundercloud of strife.
“The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh” (Ecclesiastes 4:5). The “folding hands” terminology connects this to the sluggard of Proverbs (6:6–11; 24:30–34). If a guy has never held a job, doesn’t carry through on responsibilities, or doesn’t work consistently before marriage, then he won’t afterwards, either. Walking up an aisle, mumbling “I do,” and then walking back down the aisle doesn’t transform a person’s character.
“Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, but any fool will quarrel” (Proverbs 20:3). A fool often quarrels. Why would you want that in a companion?
“A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back” (Proverbs 29:11). Don’t kid yourself; eventually you will be the target of your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s anger.
Don’t let some good points blind your eyes to a person’s lack of true commitment to Jesus Christ. If you find yourself continually excusing your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s behavior, it could be that he or she is a fool. Call sin “sin,” and call off the relationship. In short, follow Solomon’s instruction: “Leave the presence of a fool.” (Proverbs 14:7)
[Excerpted from Joel’s excellent mini-book, HELP! I’m Confused about Dating]