April 29, 2016 § 1 Comment
I think we all have been on this branch at one point or another. “Going out on a limb” is synonymous with risk, and in the video above of 3 young guys attempting to saw off a branch they’re sitting on (it’s an animated GIF, but if it’s not playing for you, watch the same video here), we can see that there are degrees of folly.
Fool #1 on the left sits furthest out as he saws away at the branch between himself and the tree. No one there is wise enough to see what’s about to happen. Sure enough, the branch supporting him falls.
This guy is like an atheist who saws away at the foundations of truth, logic, morality, and nature by denying their Source. Along with God he rejects the only good explanation for the above by relying on the above, thus undermining his own position. We might also recognize the sawing fool in the young person who rejects the love and authority of his parents or the prudence of a wise friend, oblivious or apathetic to those who helped shape him. Or the bridge-burner who is too myopic and self-absorbed to see how he dismisses the ways he came to success. Eventually, he falls as a direct result of his own folly.
Fool #2 in the middle is right there with the guy holding the saw, but clearly on the better side of the cut. Still, he has no clue of the coming residual consequences from his friend’s actions. Once the heavy branch gives away, the remaining limb springs upward and launches him from his perch to fall a second after his friend.
See this guy as the bandwagon of culture. Not a revolutionary path-forger, but a disciple and close follower. He’s a social or theological liberal going with the flow. Or maybe he’s the teenager who always seems to pick the wrong friends and winds up in trouble. He may just be too codependent to draw boundaries, too wishy-washy to take a stand, or too afraid to say no. In any case, if he recovers he will hopefully rethink his approach to life and in the very least learn to choose his friends more carefully.
Fool #3 is the least foolish on the branch as he is still in the tree, now clutching the close branches and scooting back toward the trunk. Fortunately, he was on a thicker and more stable part of the branch as he watches his friends fall.
We’ve probably all been this guy. Curious, a wanderer of sorts, thinking YOLO but unsure how far down that path he wants to go. Maybe you’ve tried smoking, or drugs, or sex, or porn, or hedonism, or paganism, or watched The View—but then saw how it consumed others. By God’s grace you didn’t get close enough to fall and realized the smarter way to climb is sticking close to the tree.
Better to avoid folly altogether and not branch out to bad ideas. But we’re all inclined to some degree of stupidity, and sometimes it takes a fall from our own poor choices, the poor choices of those we align ourselves with, or a close call, to help us grow a little wisdom.
“To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth—The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:2-4,7)