Real Marriage – Key #4 Becoming A Safe Person

Real Marriage – Key #4 Becoming A Safe Person

– You should do this ’cause I keep messing it up. This is like a 57th tape. Howdy, Pastor Mark Driscoll here with my wife and best friend, Grace and I wanna thank all of you through Mark Driscoll Ministries who gave any amount, who pray at any time, or encourage with any email or social media posts. We’ve got a brand new sermon series, real marriage. It’s six keys to unlocking all of your relationships, including your marriage that we’re teaching right here at the Trinity Church where I’m preaching. We’re doing Q&A, and we’ll give it all away through So thanks a bunch for helping us out. World War II, there was such a traumatic and dramatic loss of life that there were a large number of children who had no families and had no parents. And as a result, the state stepped in and created institutions to housing to raise these children. And by all record, they were nice. I think safe environment, fresh air, clean water, a nice bed to sleep in, you know, clean toys to play with, a life giving environment that included good food and medical care. And what they quickly realized is that the children were not doing well. Many of the children were underdeveloped, they weren’t putting on weight, their cognitive abilities were not keeping up with their age. And in addition, some of the children tragically even became sick and some died. And it led to such a crisis and a concern that the UN was involved. The United nations was invited in to examine what is the problem here? What is wrong with these children? And you mothers will not be shocked by the findings. They simply said these children need human contact. They need to be held, they need to be talked to, they needed to be cuddled, they needed to have their back rubbed, and their head rubbed, and needed to be snuggled up with a couple of minutes every hour and a couple hours every day. Because without that, human beings die. And immediately with this simple treatment of human contact and relational affection, the children began to grow healthy, they stopped dying, they started putting on weight, and their cognitive abilities continued as should have happened. And the simple point is this, that eventually the social sciences catch up with the Bible. Just give them a little time. And ultimately, we who are Christians know that it’s not just food, water, air, and shelter that we need, we need relationships. And this starts with the God of the Bible. Some religions are monotheistic, one God, others are polytheistic, multiple gods. Christianity is distinct, it’s unique. The revelation of the Bible is one God, three persons, Father, Son and Spirit. What that means is that by nature, God is relational. Our God is relational. He has eternal relationship in and of Himself. And the Bible says that unlike other lower creation, plants, animals, and such that God made us in His image and likeness. What that means is that God made us for relationship. So we’re made to have a relationship with God and relationship with one another. And apart from relationship with God and relationship with one another, we too become sick, and we start a process of death, and devastation and destruction. And so this is why before even sin entered the world, everything that God made, in the opening chapters the Bible says, He said it was good. He said it was very good that the man and the woman would be in relationship. And there was only one thing that God said was not good and that it was not good for us to be alone. That we need each other. We need to be in relationship. Was talking to a friend of mine, he’s in the military, and he said that the quickest way to break a prisoner of war is through isolation, solitary confinement. That ultimately we don’t do well when we are alone. That’s why Jesus sent his disciples out two by two. We need each other. We need to be in relationship. But if you’ve tried to have a relationship, I’m just assuming that most of you perhaps have hypothetically tried to have a relationship with another human being, and you find that it is the most painful and pleasant, the most wonderful and awful opportunity of your whole life. And so what happens is, we are built for relationship, we’re hardwired for relationship, we require relationship, so we venture out and we try to have a relationship with someone. And it doesn’t go well. So then to sort of protect ourselves, we isolate, withdraw and retreat then we find ourselves unhappy, unhealthy, perhaps even unholy. So then we try again. We venture back into the next relationship and it does not go well. Some of us give up altogether, and we isolate, and become unhealthy. Some of us respond by becoming highly controlling. How can I manipulate the relationship so that I get what I want but I don’t suffer harm in any way? And we live in a world that’s filled with relationships, but not a lot of relationship training. And so ultimately, you can go through school and not take a class on how to be a good friend, you can go to college and there’s not really a class on how to have a good relationship that’s healthy and life-giving and glorifies God. But ultimately, God’s word talks a lot about relationships. And the mark of God’s intent for us is that we would love Him, and love each other. That we’d have a healthy life-giving relationship with God through Christ. And then that would set the pattern and precedent for health giving … healthy and life-giving relationships. Now that being said, I’m gonna give you three categories today, and they are categories I’ve shared with you previously. Some of you are new, so they’re new for you. And the reason I share them again is because we need to be reminded occasionally of things. And the Bible uses that language. Certain authors will say, “Now, let me remind you.” And what that means is this is important, but you might’ve forgot it or not fully applied it, so let’s revisit it. And the three categories are evil people, foolish people and wise people. Evil people, foolish people and wise people. Evil people live by the power of the demonic and they do great evil. Foolish people live by the power of the flesh and they cause a lot of drama and trauma. And wise people live by the power of the Holy Spirit and they become increasingly more like Jesus through the course of their life. So that’s where we’re going. Now let me say this about these categories. Number one, no one is wise in every area of life. Amen? That’s the first way you know you’re wise is you know you’re not wise. In fact, that’s step one to wisdom. Anybody who says, “I’m wise in all areas,” unless your name is Jesus, no, you’re not. You’re deceived and you’re foolish. And so the first thing is that we’re all wise perhaps in some areas, we are foolish in other areas and potentially evil in even additional areas. So we all need to understand there are always things that I can be working on, there are areas that I need to learn and grow. That should allow some sympathy between us as we learn from one another and also some patience for one another as well in process. Another thing I wanna say is these categories are not static. You can be an evil person who meets the Lord Jesus Christ, gets your sins forgiven and becomes wise. There are people in the Bible that are like that. You can also be someone who lives a lot of years, very foolish, wasting a lot of energy and a lot of life, and you could then grow in wisdom and you could make a transition. Tragically, you could do the same and you could move toward evil. So these categories are not necessarily codified, they’re flexible. I also wanna use this as an opportunity to blow up something called the mentor myth. Within Christianity, how many of you … Don’t raise your hand. But how many of you have heard this? You need a mentor, I need a mentor. Will you mentor me? The problem is with the mentor myth, the mentor myth is that if I go find a wise person, they can help me for all of my life and all the areas of my life. But there’s no one that has that much wisdom. We all have areas that we’re learning and growing. And so someone might be really good in finances, but they’re really bad in relationships. Someone might be really good in relationships and really bad with their finances. We’ll have categories and varieties of areas in which we’re wise, foolish and evil. So I actually don’t believe in a singular mentor. I believe you find wise people. This is why I have a doctor, I have an accountant, I have a mechanic, I have a counselor that I know, I have a pastor that I know, and I don’t expect one person to be all of those. Amen? I don’t go to my accounts and say, “You know, my appendix hurts. “Why do you cut me up and take a look?” He’s like that’s not his job. Also I would not go to my accountant and say, “You’re really good with a wrench, “could you also do my taxes?” What I want is I want people who are good at what they’re good at and I want to benefit from them and learn from them and lean on them, and then find people that are good in other areas. And so I don’t believe you need a mentor, I believe you need mentors. You look for a variety of wise people that you can learn and glean from. Now, that being said as well, you’ll learn how to treat different people differently. And before we jump in, let me say this about these categories. They’re for you, not for them. Okay? ‘Cause here’s what evil people do, they come to the sermon and they realize all the things that the other person needs to hear. They’re not listening. Did you hear that? That was for you. That was for you. That was for you. That was good. That was good. Okay. Do what he says. Not evil person. You first. Okay? You first. Foolish people are like, “I didn’t understand.” But I’m sure there were things in there for you to apply. Okay? Now, it’s you first. When you fly in an airplane they tell you If turbulence should hit the air, you know, oxygen mask will deploy. Who gets it first? Them or you?

– You.

– You. You get life-giving oxygen, you become healthy and okay, and then you can help someone else. Here’s the principle of the day. I’m assuming there’s relational turbulence in your life. So today we’re going to drop the oxygen mask. I want you to put it on and say, “Okay, this is for me to learn. “This is for me to apply. “This to bring health to me, “and then maybe I can help someone else.” But what I don’t want you to do is just hear this sermon and say, “That’s a good one for you. You’re screwed up. “I’m glad we go to the Trinity church. “You should listen to pastor Mark.” Okay? ‘Cause some of you are gonna do that. I just … I know you. I’m not in your car on the way home, but I know what the conversation is. So, what did you think? He got you, right? No, he got you both. Okay, that’s my goal. I love you all, so I’m going to get you all. Okay, that’s my goal today. So we’ll start with the first of three categories, evil people. Some of you grew up in really nice homes. You really sweet. And your parents just like, they have a good heart. No, they don’t. No, they don’t. No, they don’t. Some people are evil. Let me say this, you need to have these three categories, evil, foolish and wise. But if you have the majority of people you know you would put in the evil bucket, it’s one of two things. You’re a little paranoid, okay? Or you got a bad picker for friends. Okay? You gotta rethink your picker. But there are a small percentage of people who are evil. And I’ll give you some Old Testament and New Testament examples. The face of the Lord is against those who do what? Evil. It’s important that morally we keep this category. So people are like, “You can’t say certain things are wrong.” Oh yes, I can. And we have to. When certain things happen that are evil, we’re made image and likeness of God, and there’s something in us that even if our philosophy or ideology is that there is no wrong or right, there are some things that happen that we have to keep the category of that was evil. A man harmed a child. That’s evil, that’s evil. We need to keep this category of evil, and God keeps a category of evil. And what He says is that the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. That God’s looking at all human behavior, and He sees certain things that are just evil, they’re wicked, they’re destructive, they’re wrong, and He’s against those actions. He’s against those efforts. And we need to understand that. Are you evil? Preach it to enough people today. There’s gotta be at least a few evil people. Okay? Right? There’s at least a few evil people. Are there any areas of your life or in that area you’re trending evil? The Lord sees, the Lord knows. Evil people tend to be sneaky. They don’t wanna get caught. But the Lord sees and the Lord knows. Proverbs 4:14 says, “What do you do when you know, “or have a relationship with an evil person? “Someone who’s wicked. Do not enter the path of the wicked. “Do not walk in the way of the evil.” What he’s saying is if someone is evil and wicked and they’re walking toward destruction and devastation and death, don’t walk with them. Hey, I thought we were friends. I would love to be your friend, but I can’t go where you’re going. I can’t do what you’re doing. I can’t say what you’re saying. I can’t cover how you’re behaving. If you go, there you go there alone. I would love to walk with you, but I’m ultimately walking with the Lord Jesus. And I would love it if you would walk with me as I walk with him. But I can’t walk away from him to walk with you. You separate, you have a closure conversation. You break ranks. You go left, they go right. That’s just the way it needs to be. And some of you, because it’s family, because it’s friends, they’re like, “They’re my brother. They’re my sister. “I’ve known him a long time. I grew up with them. “I think we’re close.” If they’re going toward evil, with tears in your eyes and a lump in your throat, beg them to turn around, but don’t go with them. It’s better for them to be lonely than both of you to be destroyed. The New Testament talks about this as well. Look out for the dogs, look out for the evil doers. How many of you grew up in a neighborhood that had that dog? That dog. When you were a kid, you had that dog in your neighborhood? I grew up, you know, up the street from the strip clubs near the airport. Most of the neighborhood homes had in the front yard a really not nice chain link fence, a number of cars up on cinder blocks, and that dog. That dog was home security and you didn’t go near it. As soon as you ride your bike by that house, that dog is just on edge. You know, fangs, growling, drooling, barking. And if they could get out and eat you, they would. Okay, that’s it. They never fed these dogs. They kept them hungry, okay? So in my neighborhood, I knew … We knew where these dogs were and we would take long circuitous roads home on our bike to avoid these dogs ’cause some people they didn’t chain or lock these dogs up. And I remember one dog, they would literally come and they would chase you on your bike and they would be biting your leg. Now, what he’s saying is that some people are like that. And in context here, Philippians 3, he’s talking about religious people. Sometimes we get this myth, all the dangerous people are out there and all the safe people are in here. It doesn’t always work that way. In fact, Jesus had 12 guys and one was evil. Amen? He got in to the center. Sometimes Satan will send evil people into a church and they’ll even pretend to be one of God’s people to earn trust and do great harm. And that’s what he’s talking about here, religious people. People who are self righteous, people who are religious, people who are ready to bite and devour. Those people sometimes find themselves entering into the church and causing great destruction. So he says, “Watch out for the … “Watch out for the dogs.” And see when the Lord Jesus shows up, it’s very interesting. Here is the wisest person who’s lived in the history of the world. Fools showed up to argue with him. Every time I read the Bible Like, “And they showed up to argue with Jesus.” Like that’s amazing. That’s amazing, right? Like, but then I think, okay, I’ve done that. I guess I’m so foolish that I forget that I’ve done that. Evil people show up and they oppose Jesus and they try to destroy him. They try to destroy him. And the people who tried to destroy Jesus were actually devoutly religious people. Let me tell you a little bit about evil people. Evil people live by the power of the demonic. Foolish people live by the power of the flesh. Wise people live by the power of the Spirit. So if you’re an evil person who wants to do evil, Satan says, “I like evil, I’ll help you.” These people become very powerful and very dangerous. A little bit about evil people. Often times at some point in their life, something happen that harm them, that wounded them, they traumatized them. They’ve not forgiven that, they’ve not healed from that. There’s something that is amiss and broken in their soul. And so sometimes they’ll even use that so that you’ll have sympathy and empathy toward them so that then they can use and abuse you. And what happens is that they’ve been tormented and now they’re tormenting others. They’ve been harmed, and now they’re harming others. They’ve been traumatized, and now they’re gonna traumatize others. Sometimes as well, when it comes to evil people, they work through fear, intimidation, threats and demands. You do what I say or you’re gonna get hurt. You do what I say or someone you love is gonna get hurt. You do what I say or I’m gonna make you pay. Threat, intimidation, coercion, domineering, fear. They rule through fear. They’re like a bully breed dog. They rule through fear. They don’t invite through love. They oppress through force. That’s how they operate. In addition, they have little to no empathy. They’re not the people who would come to you and say, “How did that make you feel? “I’m sorry. How did that affect you? “How can I do that better next time?” It’s always, I win, you lose. I don’t have empathy or sympathy for you. You are just fuel for my life and I put you in the fire and burn you up and move on to the next. So what do you do with an evil person? And we sort of indicated it here. He says, “Do not enter their path. “Do not walk in their way.” What he’s saying is close your conversation, I’m done. Clear boundaries, safety distance. You can’t give an evil person information, they’ll use it to destroy you. You can’t give an evil person access, they’ll use it to enter into your life and to do great harm. If you invite an evil person into your home, into your relationships, into your life, all of a sudden, they see that as the beginning point of destruction. And so if you give them anything, they’ll push toward more. It’s like a retreat in a war. Well, you know, we’re being attacked by the enemy. Maybe if we just retreat a little bit, then we’ll stop. No, they won’t. The march will continue until there’s been total conquest. That’s how evil people function and operate. And so, again, there is a small percentage of people who are evil, but you need to understand that they do exist. And for those of you that are in counseling professions and helping professions, you’re teachers, you’re therapists, you’re doctors, you’re lawyers, you understand this. You’ve seen evil. I’m a pastor. I’ve been a pastor for 20 years. I’ll never forget one of my most bewildering counseling appointments as a brand new pastor, very young, 20s, newly married, not ready for everything that I was ready to get. I sat down with this woman. She was pretty timid and pretty quiet. And she said, “Well, I’m just having some marital problems “and I just passed the a mark. “I just wanted to get some advice.” And I said, “Okay, what’s going on” “Well, I just feel like sometimes my husband, “he’s just not very nice.” I was like, “Okay, well, what … ” And she talked very generally. It was almost like there was a grenade with a pin pulled and she was being very careful not to go near it. And I asked her, I said, “Give me an example “of what he says or does that’s hurtful.” She said, “Well, I’ll cook dinner and I’ll set the table “for me and my husband and our kids. “And if my husband is angry with me that day, “he takes the dog bowl and puts it in front of me “and dumps my dinner in it, “and makes me eat out of it in front of the kids.” That’s evil. That’s evil. That’s traumatic. That’s abuse. In front of the children? Yeah, and now the kids, the way they treat me is horrible. Oh my gosh. I said, “That’s evil.” That’s evil. She said, “Well, but you know sometimes I make him mad.” No, he’s evil. There’s nothing you could do that should result in that kind of behavior. Nothing. What do you do with someone who’s evil? You get consequences, you get distance. An evil person is beyond your help. Doesn’t mean beyond help. They need God’s help and the help of a professional. This is where an attorney, a police officer, a therapist, a rehabilitation program. Right, the professionals need to get involved because this is not someone who is willing to listen. This is someone who needs an authority that specializes in their problems. And so some of you are rescuers and your saviors, and you’re like, “I can fix them. I can fix them.” No, they can destroy you. They can destroy you. So let the professionals handle them and deal with them. Let God handle them and deal with them. Is there any area of your life that you are evil or trends toward evil? Are there any relationships that you’re trying to have with evil people? Some of you, you’re like, “I love them. I care for them. “I give to them, I serve them. I endure with them. “How can we don’t have a good relationship?” Well, if they’re evil, then that is the issue. You can never have a healthy life-giving safe relationship if one or both of you is evil. This is a heavy sermon, but I hope it’s a helpful sermon. In some regard, a church is a network of relationships like an extended family. We’re a brand new baby church plant. We’re just five months old. We love you, we’re glad to have you, but I want you to not just work on your relationships. I want you to look at your relationships and ask is this even a relationship I should be having? Or should I structure it in a very different way? I want us to have language as a people. We just go, “No, that’s evil. “That’s foolish. That’s wise.” You need counsel, but not evil counsel, not foolish counsel. You need wise counsel. I wanna give us categories and I wanna give us language. And here’s the truth. I’ll just let you know on a little secret. I called it a marriage series because then you would come, but the truth is, it’s a life series. Okay? And it actually affects all of your relationships. So this is including how you raise your kids, and how you deal with your coworkers, and your extended family. Certainly, it has implications for your relationship with your spouse if you’re married. But these are general categories for all of life. Second category, foolish people. Okay? Foolish people, stop looking at your phone, please hear me on this point. Okay? Foolish people live by the power of the flesh. So in the Old Testament, foolish people will be called fools a lot. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon and the like uses the language of the fool a lot. In the New Testament, the synonym for that is the flesh. And so Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” You say, “I don’t want to be a fool. How do I become wise?” God first. Fear, that is an acknowledgement, a recognition, a consideration of valuation of God first. Not, God, what do I think? What do you think? Not what do I want, what do you want? Not what do I say? What do you say? Right? That I live my life thrown down. That I hear who God is, I see who God is, and then I seek to live in light of God’s reality and God’s intention and God’s word. It’s a recognition of God. But fools despise wisdom and instruction. Fools don’t wanna hear. Fools don’t wanna listen. Fools don’t wanna learn. Fools don’t wanna change. Fools like to argue, I disagree with you. Okay, well, how’s it going? It’s going really bad. Well, maybe you should read a book. I don’t like to read. Maybe should go to church. I can’t get up. Well, maybe you should go talk to a counselor. Oh, they’re too expensive. Maybe you should try something. No. And it’s everybody else’s fault. It’s every … It’s your fault. It’s your fault. It’s mom, my dad, my neighbor, my boss. I’m a victim, the whole world is against me, and I just need someone to hold me and fix my problems because I’m a victim and everyone else is against me. No, you’re an adult. You’re responsible for your own life, you’re responsible for your own future. Let’s talk to you about that. I don’t want to hear that. You’re not being loving, you’re not being understanding, you’re judging me. For sure, I am. To get you to practice judging yourself then you’d save us both some time. Okay? In the New Testament, when it talks about foolish people, it talks out of the flesh. And the flesh is this internal disposition toward rebellion. You ever done something and then you are just like, “What was I thinking? “That was so stupid. “Is it just me?” You’ve never done that? Okay, cool. I’ll ask the person that drove here with you and they’ll testify, okay? You ever done something like I don’t know if that was … What? That was crazy. I don’t know what I … That’s the flesh. So there’s a little test, okay? Am I living out of the flesh? Now, the works of the flesh are evident. Sexual immorality. That word is porneia. We get a word pornographic from it. Impurity, any kind of being that’s nasty. Sensuality, right? Inappropriate conduct and or flirtation and temptation, idolatry. Someone or something is at the center of your life other than God. Sorcery, that’s some sort of general vague vogue spirituality. Enmity, that sort of conflict. Strive, where you’re always fighting and arguing. Jealousy, if anything good happens to someone else you’re angry about it. Fits of anger, you’re emotionally like a grenade with a pin pole. Rivalries, it’s us against them. Or are you on my side or their side, it’s war, and you got to pick a team, Dissensions, but ultimately war against them and war against them. And if you’re against them, then you’re good with us. But if you’re for them, you can’t be good with us. Life gets very complicated into teams and tribes. Divisions. Division is literally two visions, so you don’t agree on who you are, where you’re going, and what you’re doing. Envy, you’re really upset every time something good happens for someone else. Drunkenness, that includes drugs and alcohol. Orgies, all kinds of sexual sin. And some of your like, “Ooh, good I didn’t make the list'” Et cetera. Okay? Et cetera Things like these, right? Because the flesh is so wicked. If you get it a list, it’ll say, “I got one you missed.” And God’s like, “No, you didn’t. “I got et cetera bucket. There you go, put it in there.” Now, some of you look at this and you would say, “I thought that was college.” Okay, it’s not, it’s the flesh. It’s the flesh. It’s the flesh. So let’s talk a little bit about the foolish flesh. Foolish people are not dumb, okay? Don’t raise your … If you’re foolish, I’m not gonna make you raise your hand. And you’re like, “I don’t know if I should.” Well, okay. You should. But anyways, foolish people are not dumb. Foolish people pretend to be dumb when it suits and conveniences them. “Oh, I didn’t know. I didn’t know if we slept together. “Baby show up but I did not know. “I did not know if I drank every day “my boss would not like it that I showed up “with one eye open and no pants on. I did not know.” I did not know. This was all I’m shocked. I had no idea. If you don’t pay your bills, they turn off the power? News to me. I did not know. So foolish people are not stupid. They’re smart and they’re manipulative. They’re hoping … In fact, they’re smarter than you. That’s why they get you to pick up all their messes. There are circus elephant. You’re the guy with the shovel following them around. Right? They’re … That was wrong and very insightful, okay? That was … Right? Some of you are like, “Ooh! That’s what I’m … “That’s my marriage. Ooh!” Welcome. Okay, so what a foolish person does though, a foolish person won’t accept reality. They’ll argue with you about reality. You’re like, “That was me.” “No, it wasn’t.” “Yeah, it was. Now you’re being mean again.” “Nope, nope, nope. Nope. You’re too sensitive. “You’re the problem. “You know, I should punch you and you shouldn’t feel it. “And if you feel it, it’s because you’re too tender. “It’s your fault.” Whoa! How did that happen? Reality goes away. “Hey, if you don’t go to school, “you’re not going to graduate.” “I disagree.” I disagree. Okay, really? ‘Cause 1,000 out of 1,000 unemployed people would all agree with that point that I just made. Right? If you keep eating everything that ends in etos, you’re not gonna be healthy. Right? Like Cheetos, Fritos, Doritos Toketeos, Tostitos. You know, if it’s just a constant etos diet. you’re not gonna to be 100 doing, you know, back flips. And you’re like, “I disagree. I totally disagree. “Whiskey and etos, and I’m gonna live to 1,000.” You’re not dealing with reality. See, we tend not to deal with … And what happen … Here’s what happens is, we see their reality, not our own. So foolish people walk and be like, “Yeah, that’s wrong.” You’re like, “Well, since we’re talking about wrong things,” and they’re like, “I disagree.” See we tend … And what foolish people wanna do, they want reality to change for them. That’s what they want. Reality doesn’t change for you. Reality is like a train on the tracks, okay? It’s coming and you can accept that or not accept it, but eventually, you’ll experience it. When it comes to foolish people as well, sometimes they see themselves as a victim. Well, when I was little … And you know what? We will find a way to excuse ourselves and turn ourselves into victims so that others have sympathy toward us. But here’s the truth, your future is not determined by your past but how you respond to your past. So a little tough love from Pastor Mark, okay? I’ve seen two kids grow up in the same home, go through the same difficulty, one response foolishly, one responds wisely. One uses it to grow and mature and help others, and the other uses it as an excuse to continue that sin for generations. And they both have the same experience, but they responded to a differently. Foolish people always wanna turn themselves into a righteous victim that has an excuse for their behavior. Evil people go backwards, foolish people are stuck. Evil people cause harm, intentionally, maliciously, purposefully. Foolish people do so unintentionally. I wasn’t trying to hurt you, but I was not thinking about you, so the decision I made implicated and devastated you. I didn’t even really know I was doing that. And so what happens as well, foolish people are fun. Amen? Any of you had that foolish friend? You’re like, “I don’t wanna live with them, “but Mardi Gras, I wanna see him.” Okay? They’re fun. They’re fun. Foolish people are carefree, they’re irresponsible. They don’t think about consequences, right? They’re not worried about tomorrow and so they can be really fun. So sometimes we endure foolish people because they are good time. But here’s what they do, foolish people eventually, they allow things to continue until it reaches a crisis. Right? So they don’t pay their bills until they’re homeless. You know, they don’t find a job until they’re bankrupt. You know, they don’t go to a counselor until their spouses moved out. And what they’ve learned is, if I just avoid all my responsibilities, till there’s a mushroom cloud over my life, then all the responsible people will show up like the fire department and they put out my fire. And then they go away, and then I just let my life continue to slide in folly until there is a crisis. So what do you … So let me ask you this. Is there any area of your life that you’re foolish or trending towards foolishness? Okay? I think if we’re honest, we’d all say yes. So what do you do with the foolish person? Boundaries, consequences, hoping to encourage them toward wise behavior. So sometimes what a foolish person will ask is, “Can you fix it?’ I had a meeting with a guy, marriage problems, pretty much his fault. And he said, “I need you to save my marriage.” I said, “Well, since we’re not married, “I don’t know how I could do that.” “If we were married, maybe I could save our marriage “but since you’re married, I’m not married to you, Jack. “I’m out. Right like, I’m not on the field. “I’m up in the stands of the popcorn watching, “but I’m not on the field. “It’s you and your wife, this is your relationship.” So I said, “I can’t save your marriage. “Here’s what I can do. “I can come down the field and maybe coach you a little bit “and tell you to go to her and apologize, “and own all your stuff, and you know, “take responsibility for your own issues. “And maybe go get some help. “But ultimately I can’t fix it. I can’t save you. Okay? I don’t have a red cape or a shirt with an S on it. All right? And my name’s not Jesus. It’s your life. You’re responsible for it. Some of us can give you some advice, but here’s what you need to do. Act on it. Do you ever read your Bible? I don’t. Okay, this week, read your Bible and if you read it, I’ll meet with you again.” Okay, I read my Bible this week. Okay, do you ever pray? No, I don’t pray. Okay, pray for two weeks and I’ll see you in two weeks. Did you pray? No, I didn’t and I lost my Bible. Okay, well. We’re not really making a lot of progress here. Can you carry me? How about you, your thick? How about if I get on your back and you carry me? No, I can’t carry you. Okay? I can’t carry you. You need to carry yourself. And part of this as well is how we parent. This is your responsibility. I wanna help you how to do that. And if you don’t, there’s gonna be consequences, but you need to take responsibility for your own life. And sometimes what happens with foolish people, they were never parented so they’re still acting like little children. They want to be taken care of. There’s nothing wrong acting like a child when you’re a child. But when you’re an adult, Paul says, “When I was a child, I thought like a child, “I acted like a child, I spoke like a child, “I reasoned like a child. “When I became an adult, I put childish ways behind me.” Foolish people go back to the ways that two and three-year-olds behave. Throw a fit, sit there and scream until somebody comes and changes me. You’re an adult, time to act like an adult and have adult responsibilities. That’s what you do for foolish people that you love. Now, some of you, I can see it. I sense there’s in the ribs. You’re like, “He is very mean. He not very nice.” Okay, let me say this, you love evil people by helping them not be evil. You help foolish people by helping them not be foolish. Because if someone is evil or foolish, it’s not only that they’re harming other people, they’re also harming themselves and out of for everyone involved it’s encouraging them toward wisdom. This is really what love looks like. Love is not codependency. Love is not enabling. Love is not tolerating. Love is not excusing. Love is not denying. Love is helping. Love is helping. And that’s so ultimately what wisdom is. And again, none of us can say that we’re all wise all the time, but here is what the Bible has to say about wise people. I’ll start in Romans 8, that wise people live by the flesh. Oh, excuse me, foolish people live by the flesh. That was a very foolish thing to say. Foolish people live by the flesh and the wise people live by the Spirit. Romans 8, “If you live according to the flesh, “you will die.” Right? “The foolish flesh leads to death. “But if by the Spirit,” that’s the Holy Spirit, “you put to death the deeds of the body.” Because Jesus died, you could put your sin and folly to death. You don’t need to excuse to tolerate it or hide it. You can crucify it. If you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live, for all who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God. We sing of this. When you become a Christian, Jesus forgives your sin and your folly. He gives God as your father, he places the Holy Spirit in you. How did Jesus live his life? How did he have wisdom? How did he have obedience? How does it say in Luke 2:52? That he grew in wisdom and stature and favor with men and God. How did he say no to temptation? How did he make the right decision every time? How did he know who was evil and who was foolish, and who was wise? How does he do that? By the power of the Holy Spirit, by the person of the Holy Spirit, by the presence of the Holy Spirit. And so Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity, so we have a relationship with God, that then brings us the wisdom of God to implement in our relationships with one another. So here’s the good news, you can grow in wisdom through the power of the Holy Spirit. This comes from God’s word, this comes from prayer, this comes from God’s people who have the Spirit of God and the wisdom of God. Now, what does this look like in a life? I want to quote Isaiah 11:2. So 700 years before Jesus entered into human history, it was prophesied and promised how he would come. And this verse is so important that when Jesus began his public ministry, as an adult male, he opened the scriptures in the synagogue and he read this verse. Right? “The spirit of the Lord is upon me.” And he says, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” So Jesus began his public ministry by quoting this verse. “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.” Jesus lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s one thing to look at Jesus and say he’s a great example. But I’m not Jesus. I can’t live like that. Jesus says, “Actually, I lived by the power of “the Holy Spirit, and I give you the Spirit “so you don’t just have to admire my life. “You can actually follow my life. “You can experience my life.” The Spirit of the Lord shall upon him. The spirit of what? Wisdom. You know where wisdom comes from? It comes from the Holy Spirit. And understanding. The spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and the fear or reverence of the Lord. How did Jesus live his life? By the power of the Holy Spirit. How did he live? He lived a life of perfect wisdom and obedient. You and I have got a choice to make. Do I wanna live an evil life? If so, Satan will help me do great harm to others. Do I wanna live a foolish life where I just am sort of reckless and out of control, and I have no self control, I have no delayed gratification, I have no consideration of others? Do I wanna live a life of wisdom? I will need to confess my sin and folly to Jesus, receive his forgiveness, receive the person, presence and power of the Holy Spirit, live with the Bible open, live in conversational prayer with God, seeking wise counsel from others, and obeying the instruction that I receive so that I could walk with Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let me say this about wise people. First of all, let me say this. We don’t judge whether or not someone is wise by where they are, but where they started. All right? There are some people that they’ve already walked two miles, and you could look at them and say, “They’ve been a Christian for 10 years. “They should be further along.” No, look at where they started their walk. They may have come from an unbelieving home, in an abusive background and all kinds of addiction, and they have made progress. So let’s celebrate that and let’s encourage that forward progress. Some of you were born in bible believing, Jesus’ loving, healthy, helpful homes, and you have not made much forward progress. You kind of are where your parents brought you. Okay? So we don’t just judge people by where they are, but where they started and how far they’ve come and what their trajectory is. Are they going backwards? That’s evil. Are they stuck? That’s foolish. Are they’re making progress? That’s wise. Wisdom is not intelligence. There are some people that are really smart and evil. Amen? And if you read history, sometimes evil people are very powerful and they do evil in great numbers. And it’s not because they’re stupid, it’s because they’re brilliant and evil. So intelligence, intellect, IQ has nothing to do with these three categories. This is where educational system fails us. The goal is have a high IQ. Well, what about being wise? ‘Cause you can have a high IQ and be evil, you can have a high IQ and be foolish. Or you can have a low IQ and be wise because you love the Lord, you’re filled with the Holy Spirit and you obey the simple commands that God gives. And so what we’re looking at here is a wise person is humble and teachable. They say, “You know what? “I’ve always got something to learn and if you wanna “bring class into session, I’m a student” And a foolish person … Here’s foolish person. A foolish person listens to everybody. An evil person listens to nobody. An evil person is like, “I know right and wrong, this is what I’m doing.” Evil. Foolish person listens to everybody. You can tell a foolish person because he’s like “I’ve talked to 35 people, and now I don’t know what to do.” I can tell you why. You assembled a parade, you know And of course, they don’t agree on which direction to march. A wise person says, “I don’t listen to everybody, “and I don’t listen to nobody. I’m discerning. “I want to be teachable and humble “but that means I also want to be discerning on “who I listen to.” They embrace reality, they’re empathetic and sympathetic. How did that affect you? They are other centered not just self centered, and they’re responsible for themselves. It’s not your fault that I’m angry. It’s not your fault that I acted out. It’s not your fault that I said or did that. Even if you bumped me, I apparently was the grenade with a pin pulled and it’s not your fault, it’s my fault. I’m the grenade. And I was thinking about it when we did our little stop Bible study this week and I put together a chart. So these are the different kinds of relationships you’re gonna have in your life. And I want you to look at them and ask, which am I, which are they, where are we? Number one, evil and evil. What happens when you get two evil people together in a relationship? It’s dangerous. One of two things happen, they turn on each other. Now, it’s nuclear. Or they come together like two barrels on a gun, and they’re an unholy alliance. Sometimes a husband and a wife that are evil, it’s like Bonnie and Clyde. Right? It’s like “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Like they’re together, but nobody’s happy about that. They’re very dangerous. What happens when you get an evil person and a foolish person? It’s an abusive relationship. The foolish person is like, “Well, I’m gonna pay your bills, “and I’m gonna love you, and I’m gonna let you yell at me, “and I’m gonna let you hit me, and I’m gonna put up “with this because eventually I know I can change you.” And the evil person is like, “That’s hilarious. Just keep believing that. “I take advantage of you, I punish you, “I threaten you, I harm you. “And as long as you are foolish enough to think “that it’s otherwise, I’m willing to take advantage of you.” What happens when you get two foolish people? Right? “Dumb and Dumber,” or “Beavis and Butt-Head.” What happens when you get two foolish people? They’re codependent. They’re like, “You don’t talk about my stuff. “I don’t talk about your stuff.” Right? “We both drink together. We do drugs together. “We gambled together. You know, we mess around together. “We have fun together, we party together. “We’re irresponsible together, and here’s the rule. “You don’t talk to me about my stuff “and I don’t talk to you about your stuff. “And then we’ll just get along just fine.” And these are people who can tolerate tremendous chaos in their life. Tremendous chaos. So like, how did they endure that? They endure that together. Right? It’s like two drunk stumbling home together from the bar. Good to have you. Yes, sir. Two foolish people. Right? What about a foolish person and a wise person? These end up being more parental relationships, regardless of age. The wise person is like, “I’m responsible.” The foolish person is, “I’m irresponsible.” So the wise person says, “Okay, I’ll bail you out, “I’ll feed you, I’ll house you, I’ll take care of. “I’ll save you from yourself and your consequences.” And oftentimes … So you’re singles. Okay, here we go. In a dating relationship, this is a little fun at first perhaps because the foolish person is like, “You have a job, that’s amazing. “You have a car, awesome. “Can you pick me up? “You want to go out to dinner? “I don’t have money but I’d love to eat something. “And I got nowhere to stay. Could you scoot over? “Thank you. Okay, that’s …” And then what happens is the overly responsible person is like, “I need to be needed, and you’re kind of fun. “I’m a little straight-laced and not fun, and you’re fun.” And so together it’s like, “Oh, this works,” until you have a child. Okay, hypothetically, I’ll throw it out there. I know this has never happened. But I’m just gonna throw it out there. Hypothetically, a foolish man gets an overly responsible woman to marry him. And then she is like his mother. Okay. Like, “Did you eat breakfast, Timmy? “Timmy, you need to get up, it’s noon. “Timmy, do you have a job? “Timmy, where’s my car?” “Timmy, Timmy, Timmy. “Okay. Okay.” And then and it’s like she’s the mother in the relationship. And he’s like, “This is amazing. “‘Cause I was living with my mom, she figured it out, “kicked me out and I got another mom. “This is amazing for me.” Hypothetically. I’m just saying hypothetically. I know that none of these relationships in this room are like this. So that’s why I say it. ‘Cause it’s a safe place. So anyways. Hypothetically then, hypothetically, she then has four kids and she’s looking at her husband. She’s like, “I got five kids. “I gotta change them all, I gotta feed them all. “I gotta pay for them all. I gotta clean up after …” She’s like, “Timmy, I need you to get a job.” He’s like, “Oh no, mom.” How many women become less attractive to that man over time?

– All of us.

– Because … Okay, one woman Okay. We found the nerve. Okay, we found the nerve. She said that, all of us, very quickly. all of us. 100%, okay? So … But that’s a parental relationship. Okay? And it’s very difficult when the responsibility of life increases and one person in the relationship is determined to act like a child. Very difficult. The whole temperature, has someone turned the AC on? It got very crispy in here. Okay? So this is a parental relationship, and you see this sometimes. Let me just throw it out there. We’re in Scottsdale, Arizona. And you know, the church is growing. So I wanna fix that. So let me share this point.

– Nice.

– Sometimes this is why you find an old guy picks up a really young girl.

– Yes.

– Or an older woman picks up a very young man. Just something to think about. Okay, I’ll move right along. Point number five. What happens when you get a wise person and an evil person in a relationship? The wise person tries to maintain boundaries and distance. Hey, how come we don’t hang out? Hey, no, no, no, no, no. And in the age of social media, you have to be careful. Right? You’re married, somebody wants access. Hey, let’s talk. Let’s flirt. Let’s private line of communicate. No, evil. All the fire alarm should be going off. Right? Now, that’s not safe. That’s not healthy. Here’s what safe people are. Safe people are not perfect, but they’re good enough. Safe people are becoming like Jesus, safe people help us become more like Jesus. Okay? You’re like, “You’re not like Jesus, “and what you wanna do, I read the Bible. “That’s a bad idea.” So I’m not gonna reply. I’m gonna block and call my spouse and burn my laptop. Okay? And so … Distant. Okay? And then wise and wise. What wise people are with wise people, safe, healthy-life, giving relationships. Here’s what a wise person looks like, “You know what? Okay, here’s what I’m struggling with. “Here’s what I’m struggling with. Could you pray for me?” “Yeah, I’ll pray for you. “Hey, I was reading this in the Bible. “Let me share it with you.” “Oh, that was really helpful. “I was reading this the Bible.” “Okay. I read this book. How about if you read it “and we get coffee and talk about it “’cause we’re both messed up, “but the book could help us out. Okay.” “Yeah. I took this class. It was a good class. “You wanna take it with me?” “Yeah. Hey, you know what? We should go talk to a counselor. I should meet with a professional.” “Or you know what? “I’m an idiot and I just need to be quiet.” And so what happens is when two wise people are walking together, they become both more like Jesus. That’s how you know that it’s a healthy and safe relationship. So what do you do with foolish people? You walk with them, but under certain conditions, helping them move toward wisdom. What do you do with evil people? You say, “I can’t walk with you until you’re walking “in the direction that the Lord would have for you. “And until then you walk alone.” My hope, my per my goal for you is that you’d ask yourself, am I primarily evil, foolish or wise? Who do I choose for friends and relationships? People who are evil and they’ll help me do what I wanna do, foolish people who’ll let me get away with it or wise people who’ll help me wanna grow? Last point, if you’re married, you need to agree on who those people are in your life that you talk to. So Grace and I talked about this. You know, we talked about this for years. “Honey, here are the men that I think are wise “and they’re wise counsel. And if I’m needing counsel, “these are the men that I would talk to.” And Grace has the line-item veto, and she could say yes or no. “Yeah. Those are very good men. They’re godly men. “They’re older. They’re wise. “Please feel free, honey, to talk to them.” Okay. And I tell those men, “You’re welcome to talk to Grace “and Grace, you’re welcome to talk to them. “There’s nothing to hide.” For grace, there are certain women in her life that are friends or confidants or counselors. And she’ll say, “Honey, how do you feel about them?” And I’ll say, “I approve. I agree. “Those are safe, godly, healthy people to talk to “and to go to for counsel.” What happens in the marriage is terror sets in when you’re picking people to get advice from and I don’t think they’re godly, healthy or safe. So we agree in advance kind of what that wise counsel is that we will both talk to and we leave open lines of communication so that we’re safe and we’re pursuing safe, healthy people so that we can grow in wisdom. Does that makes sense?

Mark Driscoll
[email protected]

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