Something about us just can’t stand when another person is wrong.
Have you ever been there? Has your blood ever boiled over until you explode in a steamy rage? Has it ever simmered quietly, slowly fermenting your bitterness?
Sometimes the reactions are justified. My blood boils when I’m at the supermarket and I see a parent being cruel to their child. It boils when I think of tyrannical world leaders who live in luxury while their citizens are kept in a brutal grip. It boils when I hear of families torn apart because of utter and senseless selfishness.
Usually, though, my anger is not so noble.
My bitterness simmers when I see the person at church who is vocal about their religious convictions – convictions I do not share. It simmers when a friend is so busy I feel that they don’t have time for me. It simmers when loud and obnoxious people on Facebook shout their loud and obnoxious political opinions that I disagree with.
Before I know it, I become overwhelmed with the need to correct this wrong behavior I see in other people. If only everyone knew what I knew, and lived the way I live, and see what I see.
But the Lord reminds me of something that turns the heat down on my blood. The simmering and boiling stop.
He reminds me that people are stupid.
That might not sound like a very nice thing for God to say. But the catch is that I am also a person. Therefore, I am also stupid.
I’m stupid, you’re stupid, we’re all stupid.
Sometimes I wonder if God watches us run around getting mad at each other for trivial reasons and just shakes His head in amused befuddlement, like when your beloved dog barks hysterically because someone made a noise and apparently that means the apocalypse is nigh. You love that creature but gosh, it’s so stupid.
I think God understands that our brains can’t see or comprehend all that goes on around us. He understands that we can’t read each other’s minds and know each other’s hearts. He knows that we are wonderfully, beautifully stupid.
The other day I was praying and I realized that I can’t even fully wrap my mind around the idea of God. I’m so used to sending my thoughts and prayers skyward that God starts to feel like an imaginary friend who lives in the ceiling. It hit me that day that no, God is quite real, and someday I will meet Him face to face, and my brain will finally work fully. All that I don’t know or understand will hit me with a duh!, and I think we will both laugh because I was so stupid.
The knowledge of my stupidity doesn’t depress me as it could. Rather, it gives me hope as I lean on the One with infinite wisdom, patience, and understanding. The knowledge also helps me to be more understanding of those around me. We are in the same boat. We are all human. We are all idiots.
For my brothers and sisters in Christ, I have greater peace, because I know that they, like me, know the One who loves them and guides their lives. I may heartily disagree with where they are and what they do, but I have to trust that God directs them. I have to answer the question: do I trust God, who loves this person more than I ever could and by His Holy Spirit is guiding them better than I ever will, to lead this person where they should go?
How can that answer be anything but yes?
This is something I’ve struggled with. With God’s help I’ve come from being a very judgemental person into being a more open minded person. I am not talking about real, active sin in someone’s life. That’s a different thing entirely. I am talking about individual convictions, the gray areas where interpretation of Scripture can be unclear or entirely personal. It’s often these little differences that cause our blood to boil more than the monumental ones. They’ve torn churches apart and brought violence between the very people who should be known by their love.
So I challenge us to be okay with being imperfect, shortsighted, and all around stupid. When you see your own stupidity, you shrink in your own eyes, and then you are in a better place to love and relate to the people around you. The extra laughter you get at your own expense is an added bonus.
So go ahead, admit you’re stupid. Honestly, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.