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When Everyone Else is Stupid

When Everyone Else is Stupid

. . . A wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain. Proverbs 19:13

If you are like me, you are often acutely aware of how bad other drivers are. As one cuts in front of me or another drives slowly in the passing lane, I’m thinking, Stupid drivers. Then, the other day, it was me who drove into the oil-change station. Literally . . . I drove into the building. I’d try to explain, but it wouldn’t make it any better. As I looked up at the workers who were all staring at me, I realized something. I’m the stupid driver.

Not infrequently, I find myself assuming this posture, where everyone else is stupid. I’m the only one who knows anything, and the world is just all kinds of wrong. I argue with everyone and I am offended by everything.

Though it specifically mentions a wife, today’s passage refers to this posture and is, I think, applicable to me as well. When I am in this rut of self-centered arrogance, I isolate myself from others and from God. In my selfishness, no one wants anything to do with me and in my self-focus, I cannot look to God. In my quarrelsome attitude, I become an island of misery.

I may insist though, that I have the gift of discernment. I have the wisdom to see through the nonsense of others. Discernment and wisdom are, of course, very real, but they cut both ways. If I claim to be discerning, but only use that gift to criticize others, then I am just a hypercritical jerk. True wisdom first looks inward to remove the plank from my own eye before pointing out the speck in another’s.

The world is always going to be full of stupidity, to which I contribute a fair amount. I am not responsible for those around me though, and focusing on others is often just a way to avoid my own mess. If I don’t want to be quarrelsome and if I want to follow God, I must let go of my arrogance and address my own driving and stupidity.

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