Arguing Too Much? Try The “One Fool At A Time” Rule
By Sheeri Mitchell
Proverbs 15:1-2 (New International Version)
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.”
I have always been a person who speaks her mind. In my teens and twenties, my mouth often led me into trouble that I should have avoided. As I have grown in the Lord’s wisdom, I have learned how to speak the truth in love, when it is necessary. I have not perfected doing so (nor will I ever on this side of heaven), but I have come a long way from my tactless, crass earlier years. One of the tidbits of wisdom that has helped me is a principle that a pastor, who used to disciple my husband, taught us sometime around our fifth anniversary. It’s called the “One Fool At A Time” Rule. It is so simple, it’s almost scary. It is this: In any given exchange between two or more people, if one person is “actin’ a fool,” you can’t act one, too. Isn’t that simple? Now I will be the first to tell you that many of the principles I learn from God’s word are easy to understand, but difficult to apply. For some reason, the “One Fool” rule makes it easier for me to apply the above scripture to whatever situation in which I find myself.
A few years back I had been circling a crowded parking lot, at a neighborhood grocery store, searching for a spot near the entrance. When I spotted a woman getting into her car, I pulled up and waited. The woman took a good while (in parking lot time) to settle in and start her engine. Then she took even longer to back out. While I sat staring at her brake lights, waiting for them to turn from red to white, another car pulled up from the opposite direction for the same spot. I’ve been driving long enough to know what was happening. The other driver, ignoring my signal, intended to take the spot I had been waiting for. Immediately I tensed up, sat forward and positioned myself to scoop the spot as soon as it was free. Thankfully, the driver of the car leaving the spot backed out toward me, preventing the other driver from swooping in. She left me plenty of room to pull in while she blocked the other driver. It seemed she had observed that I had been waiting and positioned herself to help me out. At least that’s how I chose to read her actions. For all I know, she could have dropped her cell phone or paused while having a timely “senior moment.” Honestly, I still don’t know. And at the time, I did not care. I got what I wanted. I got my spot. The other driver was wrong to try to “steal my spot” anyway. I expected that she would not be happy, but such is life. She tried a power move in the parking lot and failed. C’est la vie! Read more.