People are so stupid. And being people ourselves, hopefully we’re not blind to the fact that we’re included. Thankfully, the condition is not incurable.
This morning my wife and I were driving in our (small) downtown, in busy traffic, and from behind us a car came roaring up, weaving in and out, cutting off other cars left and right. As the driver cut us off my wife, who was driving, muttered, “People are so stupid.” It occurred to me that this statement was a very short—and entirely accurate—summary of the entirety of the human experience.
folly is part of our very nature
I’ve been reading Jeremiah, who makes the same point, at greater length. But it could just as easily be any other Bible prophet. Prophet after prophet after prophet try to hold up a mirror and ask, “Do you not see how stupid it is? To turn your back on the one God and go after every other conceivable deity, philosophy, hero worship, distraction, and shallow pleasure?”
It goes right back to the Garden, doesn’t it? And how foolish we all have been, ever since. “Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for…”, well for anything else. (See Romans 1:19-23 for Paul’s full astonishment at the folly, echoing Psalm 106:20 and Jeremiah 2:11.)
We humans are fools in so many ways. Far worse than fools, too. Violent, selfish, short-sighted, hurting both others and ourselves. It’s enough to make you tear your hair out, enough to reduce you to tears of anguish and frustration. Enough to make us change? Hmm.
When we read the prophets, I believe we need to read the God of Israel as pleading, begging, imploring His people to just stop. Stop being so foolish, so vexatious. Why would God’s people choose what leads to death, when there is an offer of life right in front of them? Wrong pronoun there, isn’t it. Why would we, with the offer of life in front of us?
This short thought today isn’t anything that hasn’t been said a million times. The point is made by God’s inspired messengers over and over, but we already know it. People are so stupid. And being people ourselves, hopefully we’re not blind to the fact that we’re included. We may not all demonstrate folly in the same way, but folly is part of our very nature.
Thankfully, the condition is not incurable. God keeps on loving us, and I believe it’s because we can actually change, and He is trying mightily to make it happen. We can do better—we can’t do it alone, but that’s where grace comes in. By grace, with the encouragement and support of the Father and our Lord, we can push aside the folly, in ourselves at least.
Jeremiah presents a lot of dire warnings. But through him God also expresses the hope of escaping the folly.
Yeah, people are pretty stupid, in ways beyond counting. I don’t like admitting it, but not one of us falls outside this generalization. The only hope (thanks be to God that there is a hope!) is to seek the one living God, with all our heart.