Some folks seem clueless. I mean, folks who shouldn’t be clueless. Folks who should know better. Educated folks. Seemingly intelligent people. But apparently the comedian Ron White is right, “You can’t fix stupid.” Some folks don’t like the word stupid. They call it the “S” word. Regardless of the word you use, people are stupid, fools, idiots, or knuckleheads. Take your pick. Find one that works for you. The Lord God of the universe found nothing wrong with using the word “fool” in contrast to those who are wise.
I’m studying for a series in Proverbs, and I’m constantly reminded of how foolish people are. It’s one thing to be foolish and unwise when you are young. It’s another thing to have some years under your belt and still make foolish decisions.
I remember a guy who took his tricycle up on the roof of his parents’ house when he was nine years old. He thought if he tied a bed sheet to his back he could roll off the roof and fly like Superman or, at worse, parachute to the ground. He broke his arm.
Eight weeks later, he was out of the cast and said, “I know what I did wrong.” He went back up, drove off the roof again, and broke the other arm. Say it with me, “You can’t fix _.” Okay, you can fill in the blank.
Just because a person has had some experiences, doesn’t mean they’ve learned anything from them. Some people repeat the same experiences over and over and over again. We call them repeat offenders. We call them people who return to an addiction even though they know the consequences.
While these are obvious, there are some not so obvious. I’m thinking of the tens of thousands of sermon series, books, seminars, conferences, tapes, CDs, videos, podcasts, and websites that deal with how to have a healthy relationship. You would think that with that much information available, people wouldn’t continue to crash and burn in relationships. Apparently having access to wisdom and counsel and embracing it are two different things.
Take, for example, parenting. There’s no lack of classes or information on being a good parent. Yet I am rarely out in public when I don’t see some parent screaming at their kids while their blood vessels are bulging on their neck and forehead. One, they don’t know how to discipline. Two, they don’t have self-control. Three, they are modeling lousy behavior. But do they ever learn from it? No. They could, but they don’t want to. Change seems to be too costly.
What about alcohol? Here’s a no-brainer, at least to me. Proverbs deals with the use of alcohol. We see the statistics. We know the tragic stories. We have organizations against drunk driving. The airwaves are filled with messages to “drink responsibly,” whatever that means. Every year young people die who drink and drive. Parents provide alcohol for underage teens and even host parties so their kids can “drink in a safe environment.” This attitude may define stupidity to me as much as any other. With the rising rate of alcoholism and the negative effects of alcohol on our brain and body, you’d think parents would figure it out. Nope. Daddy is stupid, and he’s training his kids to be stupid too.
Or how about faithfulness to church? Here’s a thought: If your kids are asking you, “Are we going to church today?” you aren’t doing a good job of leading your home. In fact, you’re teaching them that faithfulness to God is conditional, convenient, and never costly.
What makes this incredibly stupid, foolish, or whatever word you want to use is that the parents who have no problem with their own inconsistencies are the first ones to come whining and wailing and gnashing their teeth when Junior heads to the pig pen. For some reason they think the church can fix what they’ve messed up. Sorry folks. If you aren’t going to lead your family, don’t expect the children’s or youth pastor to fix your family. You’re the one who put Humpty Dumpty on the wall, and you’re the one that encouraged the fall.
What does it take for people to wake up? How many teens do we have to bury? How many girls will have abortions because mom and dad don’t want to be embarrassed? How many girls and guys will participate in oral sex because they’ve not been taught there is no such thing as “technical” virginity?
We recently had Josh McDowell at our church for a Frontline Parenting event. We spent a lot of money, time, and energy on that event. We had a great crowd. He got a standing ovation after lecturing on life, relationships, parenting, and sexual issues for two hours. Those that were there “got it.”
But, to be honest, I saw the glass half full. I looked around the room and saw a lot of folks who weren’t there. Some who have had trouble with their kids. Some who needed to be there as grandparents to learn ways to invest in the spiritual lives of their grandchildren.
We don’t want to learn, grow, or be challenged. We want to pull the covers over our heads and pretend the world is like it was in the good old days. It’s not…and it never will be again. It’s dangerous. Our kids are in a world that resembles a cesspool. There’s not enough air freshener made to cover up the stench of bad decision making. It shows up in the lives of those we’ve been entrusted to.
You see it in their attitudes toward authority. You see it in their lack of integrity. You see it in their dress. It’s evident in their countenance. It’s manifested in their choices. It’s as obvious as it could possibly be. But some folks, no matter what, never learn. Why? They’ve never grown up and taken responsibility for their own lives. They may have knowledge, but they totally lack wisdom. That, ladies and gentlemen is leading to the downfall of this generation.
(copyright 2011, Michael Catt)
Michael served as the President of the Large Church Roundtable, the Southern Baptist Convention as an IMB Trustee, President of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Preaching Conference, Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and President of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. He has spoken at conferences, colleges, seminaries, rallies, camps, NBA and college chapel services, well as The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Michael is the recipient of The Martin Luther King Award, The MLK Unity Award, and a Georgia Senate Resolution in recognition of his work in the community and in racial reconciliation.
Michael and his wife, Terri, have two grown daughters, Erin and Hayley.