I grew up being taught at home and in school not to call anyone stupid. It’s such a strong word. It’s insulting. It’s demeaning. It’s derisive. It provokes fights. In fact, the Lord Jesus said: “Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire” (Matthew 5:22 The Message).
In spite of this, there seems to be a time when it is justifiable to call someone stupid. However, before you start thinking that you are justified by calling some people stupid–especially those reckless and entitled drivers who make traffic unnecessarily worse all around you–resist the temptation. Guard your heart and control your tongue. God, the all-knowing Judge, is the only One who is qualified to decide whether or not a person or a nation is stupid.
So, when do we exhaust the patience of God to the point where he decides to call us stupid? Well, let’s look at Old Testament history for guidance. Twice God warned the nation of Judah, specifically the residents of Jerusalem:
Therefore, their land will become desolate, a monument to their stupidity… I will reduce Jerusalem to ruins, making it a monument to their stupidity. (Jeremiah 18:16; 19:8 NLT).
Their “stupidity” was demonstrated through the extensive list of sins that God recounted: idolatry, greed, dishonesty, ruthlessness, infanticide, murder of the innocent, oppression of the poor, and mistreatment of foreigners, orphans and widows. Instead of heeding God’s warning, the people turned their backs on God. They insisted–“We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own desires” (Jeremiah 18:12).
As a result, everything that God said through Jeremiah took place. Babylon captured and utterly destroyed Jerusalem. Some signs of such devastation are still evident today. If you get the chance to visit these ruins, remember that these are not tourist attractions. These are monuments to the stupidity of a generation that rejected God.
Look again at the sins listed above. Is our nation guilty of these? Are we stubbornly following our own desires and forsaking the Word and the ways of the Lord? God is patient and merciful; but he is also holy and just. Let the experience of Judah be a warning to us. We don’t want all our accomplishments to simply be reduced to monuments to our stupidity, do we?
Love God. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Make your intentions clear.