We love to watch and re-watch Disney movies in our home. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is one we have watched multiple times and of course we sing along with all the songs. As the movie begins Quasimodo is sitting high in the bell tower of Notre Dame watching a festival happening down below. This colorful and enticing event is the Festival of Fools, a time when the city is gathering to enjoy this celebration of rule breaking and turning everything upside down. Rules are broken and all that is sacred is no longer respected on this particular day. In short, everyone is allowed to act like a fool and get away with it. Not only that, but the one who is seen to be the biggest fool is crowned the “king of fools.” While it may be fun and enjoyable to act this way for a day, the movie illustrates in just a matter of minutes how chaotic things can quickly get when everyone is acting like a fool.

As you read through Proverbs 26 you will notice there is quite a bit written in this chapter about fools and their foolishness. It is apparent that the writer does not think fondly of fools. Several verses call out the actions of fools, encouraging the reader to be skeptical of those who make unwise choices. In verse eleven the writer states: “Like a dog that returns to its vomit,
So is a fool who repeats his foolishness.” (NASB) That is a rather gruesome picture. I’m sure most of us have been in this situation, repeating a past mistake. We likely feel worse that second or third time we make the same mistake. We are taught to strive to do better, to do our best to improve and do better no matter the circumstances. I’ve heard it said that we are not defined by our mistakes but by how we move on from those mistakes. I surely believe that to be true. I do not want to be remembered for what I may have done wrong but for how I have learned from those experiences and gone forward from those mistakes. Are there perhaps mistakes you have made that you need to learn from; changes you need to make as you go forward this week?

As we have read through these chapters in Proverbs over the last few weeks, we have continued to read words of wisdom. The pages have been filled with words to live by. Here in chapter 26, the writer gives us warning that if we do not follow these words of wisdom, we are foolish. “Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.” (Verse 7) ”Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.“ (Verse 9) I most certainly do not want to be a fool, especially not by Biblical standards! I hope as you go about this week you will choose to be the wise one following the advice of Proverbs instead of the fool.

Martha Kate