The World is Full of Stupid People
Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ . . . having no hope and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:12
I recently stepped onto a hotel elevator with another man and his young son. I ended up nearest to the controls, so I asked what floor they wanted and pressed the corresponding button, which lit up. I then pushed the button for floor three, which is where I thought I wanted to go, but it didn’t light up. I pushed it several more times before the father and son kindly informed me that we were already on floor three and if I wanted to go somewhere else, I needed to push a different button. I felt pretty dumb as I remembered the floor on which I was actually staying.
They were very nice about my stupidity, but I’m not always so kind – at least not in my head. Often, when I witness the stupidity of others, I’m frustrated, condescending, or even angry. What an idiot. How could you be so stupid? A lot of us do this. The world has no shortage of stupidity and it’s very easy to get caught up in being judgmental about it. Most of us are really good at seeing the foolishness of others – even if we’re blind to or have forgotten our own foolishness.
In today’s passage, Paul told the Ephesians to remember where they once were – lost and hopeless. He reminded them that they were powerless to save themselves and that they desperately needed Christ.
Sometimes it’s important for me to remember my past so I don’t go back, but it’s also important to remember so I may better understand and identify with others. In recovery for seven years, it’s easy to become judgmental of those still struggling with chemicals. It’s even easier for me to be condescending towards those who’re wrestling with things with which I’ve never struggled. Paul’s words today are a reminder to remember where I’ve been so that I can offer understanding and help instead of criticism. “I’ve been there. I’ve struggled too.” is far more productive than, “What an idiot you must be”.
If we find ourselves constantly grumbling about how stupid everyone else in the world is, we’ve become arrogant, prideful, and condescending. We’ve forgotten where we’ve been and what Christ has done for us. If we can’t remember what Christ has done for us, then it’s likely that we’ve never allowed him to touch our hideous pride.
Yes, the world is full of sinful, stupid people, but we are those people. We’re nothing on our own and we all need God. We’d do well to remember that, practicing humility and kindness with everyone around us.