Reckless or Foolish?


This post comes from Chapter 1 of my book Completely Reckless. Read the whole chapter for free here. Like it? Buy the book here!


When you read that word, what comes to mind?


X-Games participants?

Base Jumpers?

People who eat Taco Bell?

For us being Reckless is usually a bad thing. It results in things like body casts and insurance claims. It isn’t something we usually see in ourselves, and it certainly isn’t a trait that we would assign to God.

However, as I read the Bible I begin to see something about the nature of God that I can only define as Reckless. At first glance, it doesn’t make sense. God is an all-powerful being, who creates the very world we live in. He doesn’t have to, but he does. He then creates humans and he loves us, even when we are unlovable.

It is a love that, for reasons we will explore in this book, I term Reckless. It is a love that is exemplified by God. It is a love I believe has the power to drastically change our interactions with God, with the people around us, and even with ourselves. When we begin to see ourselves as God sees us, and see the people around us as God sees them, it changes everything.

I think it is important here in the beginning of our conversation to make a distinction between being Reckless and being Foolish. Many times the words are synonymous in our minds. We think that someone who is acting Recklessly is also acting

For the purpose of our discussion here I would like to make an important distinction between these two concepts. For the rest of this book we will define Reckless as acting without care for the consequence. Someone acting Recklessly has thought through their actions, understands any potential consequences, and acts anyway. For example, a soldier who throws himself on a grenade to save his friends is Reckless. He knows the consequences of his actions. He acts anyway.

On the other hand, let’s define Foolish as acting without thought of consequence. The foolish person doesn’t stop to consider the catastrophe that may await them. A soldier in a firefight who disobeys an order to keep his head down because he wants to see what’s going on is foolish.

Reckless is the couple with four kids who begin accepting foster children into their home. They know there will be consequences. They know it will be hard. But they act anyway, because the reality of children who need a home overpowers their desire for comfort.

The short-sighted nature of foolishness means that harm is almost always inherent. Recently there was a news story of a man who had a two-and-a-half year online relationship with a woman whom he had never met in person. One day she disappeared. She wouldn’t return his e-mails or phone calls. He was so sure of her sincerity in the relationship that he called the police to report her missing. Imagine the sinking feeling in his stomach  when he showed them her photo and saw the grins on the officers faces.  Our unfortunate Romeo was informed that the picture of his love was actually an image of a woman taken from the State of Florida’s website.

It was the sample driver’s license photo.

The person he had been dating for two-and-a-half years had been scamming him. They didn’t do it for free either. Whoever his “girlfriend” was had talked him into sending them a total of $200,000 over the course of their relationship. This man had sent money to accounts in the US, England, Malaysia, and Nigeria.

Seriously? At what point do you start to get suspicious? I’m thinking the wire transfers to Nigeria should have been a clue…

That’s foolish love.

That’s love that has no thought toward the consequence.

On the other hand, Reckless love knows the consequence, accepts the consequence, and acts many times in spite of the

Another recent news story helps us understand Reckless in action. David Roth was a car salesman in Greenville, South Carolina. His son, Michael, was the starting pitcher for the University of South Carolina baseball team. The team won the College World Series in 2010 but Michael’s dad had missed the whole thing.

After years of driving Michael to and from practices, games, tournaments, and supporting his son’s dreams, David had to miss him pitching in the College World Series. David had been unable to get the time off from work to travel to Omaha where the World Series was held. He vowed never to let that happen again.

So when South Carolina returned to the Series the very next year, David was faced with a choice: see his son pitch in what could be the games of his life, or keep his job. For David the decision was easy. He quit his job and was in the stands on the opening night of the series to watch his son lead the team to a 5-4 win over Texas A&M.

That’s Reckless. It’s acting without care for the consequences.  David knew that his actions, born out of his love for his son, would mean the loss of his job. But that didn’t deter him.

The person who exemplifies Reckless love may get burned.  Their love may not be reciprocated. They understand this going into the relationship. It is love with eyes open rather than closed.