“My mind’s made up; don’t confuse me with the facts!”

MrT_fools_motiv (1)We might laugh at expressions like that but we also wince a little bit because we’ve all met (and been, if we’re honest) “those people” for whom facts have no bearing on a decision.

Some people, after all, will argue that the sky is not blue simply because you said it was blue.  But there’s something very dangerous about these people too.  The close-mindedness they exhibit can quickly turn into arrogance of “I’m always right.”

These people are not only frustrating to be around, they are virtually impossible to instruct.  “Don’t confuse me with the facts,” their actions (and words sometimes!) shout.

Fortunately for us as disciples of Jesus, the Scriptures are not mute on dealing with these people.   Proverbs 23:9 teaches

Do not speak to fools,
for they will scorn your prudent words.

The Biblical usage of the word “fool” is a nice way of saying a stupid person without the moral compass to even make good judgments.  They don’t even know when they’re wrong because they’ve been so blinded by their own foolishness.

To these people, we’re told, “Don’t waste your breath.”  They reject correction, guidance, instruction, and counsel.  So great is this disdain for being corrected, they actually will end up spewing arrogant hatred at you for even thinking they were wrong.

“Do not give dogs what is sacred,” Jesus said in Matthew 7:6, “Do not throw your pearls to pigs.  If you do, they may trample them under their feed, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

In a sense, it’s a “fool’s errand” to even waste your time with these people.

Harsh, huh?

So how are we to know those people?  More specifically, how do we know when to help them and when to stop trying?

I think we can pretty much tell when we meet these people.   If we think everyone around us is a bonehead then—newsflash!—WE are that person.

But how do you know when to stop throwing “pearls of wisdom” to them?  It’s easy to cop out and just say, “pray through that” (and you certainly should!) but I’ve developed a three-part framework to help.

  1. Test them with something they can agree with.
  2. When they are argumentative (or just plain wrong), ask them to explain it.
  3. When they are argumentative (or just plain wrong), present your case in the form of a question: “Have you considered…?”.  Truth is this: it’s tough to know when to stop trying and when to push harder.  That’s where prayer and trusting the Holy Spirit comes in.  However, I hope these practical steps can help start this journey for you to determine when “these people” will “scorn your prudent words” or “savor your prudent words.”