I’ll never forget the insults hurled our way by the teams we went on the road to play. Some were creative. Some were funny. Some were personal. Some were sober. Most were probably drunk. All wanted a response.

Here’s some good advice from the Scripture in Proverbs 26:4–“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also become like him.”

Never talk to the fans. Here’s why.

1. That guy is a fool. Really. He is. He’s in the stands for a reason. He has nothing better to do than heckle young players. Fool. Ignore him accordingly.

2. Talking to fools is foolish. It’s right there in the verse. If you respond to a fool the way he’s talking to you, you’ve just become like him. And that’s foolish. Be wiser, more mature.

3. You can’t win. All he wants is to be acknowledged. That’s his win. When you respond, he wins. Not you. Ever. You’ve just been distracted and given that guy what he wants.

4. You don’t have to defend yourself. Most everyone else recognizes he’s a fool. Most of the people around him don’t agree with him. After all, he’s a fool. And there’s no need to defend yourself against fools. They don’t know what they’re talking about anyway.

5. You’ll never influence anyone through a heated exchange. Don’t get me wrong. In the middle of the game, you’re certainly not thinking about having some sort of influence on the fool in the stands. But, one day your games will end. The fools won’t. And you’ll need to know how to handle and influence them. Hint: it will never happen by getting on their level.

Lord Jesus, in my sinful nature, I want to respond to people who are fools, who criticize me or those around me. Give me the strength to handle things the way you desire. Your grace has made me new and I want to apply that is this area of my life and game.