Am I a Fool? (Proverbs 17:28)

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.
Abraham Lincoln

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
Proverbs 17:28

The first quotation, attributed to Abraham Lincoln, is likely based upon the following Proverbs verse. It brings to mind a particularly painful and embarrassing episode in my life. I was one month into my first year as a medical resident. I was presenting the history of a patient to a senior resident. As I presented, he suddenly began chuckling. When I queried why he was laughing, he just shook his head and continued to snicker. I continued to present the case but the snickering continued. Irritated, I stopped and asked him, “You know, I don’t appreciate this. Why are you laughing?”

He looked at me in mock seriousness and said, “Sometimes it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”

He never did tell me what he thought was so foolish about my presentation and to this day, I still cannot discern what he found so amusing. But he did succeed in humiliating me. A few days later, he realized how callous and rude his statement was to me and he apologized. From that point forward, we became friends but the sting of his statement remained.

Regardless of his intentions, the episode does remind me the importance of choosing my words carefully. I often tell my daughter that words are very important and we must choose them very carefully when we speak or write. It is very easy to unknowingly hurt someone with a word that has a shade different tone or interpretation.

Am I a fool?

Perhaps for that day, I was. But In God’s eyes, the only person who is truly a fool is one who hears the Word of God and dismisses it, stating there is no God. If you have confessed your sins, repented, and believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are not a fool. You are a child of God! And there is no more wonderful relationship in the universe.

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.