The Dumbest Thing
Written by Dr. Bill Bagents
What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done? Some are unmentionable, but these certainly qualify for me:
- When I was a kid, I wanted to know what electricity felt like, so I took the bulb out of a lamp and stuck my finger into the socket.
- As children, we wanted to move the car from under the basketball goal and in the attempt rolled the car into the house.
- I once looked for my glasses while I was wearing them.
- I gashed the tallest finger on my left hand while trimming shrubs.
- I ate some bear meat while visiting Russia. The more I chewed, the chewier it got.
- I was the foreign guest of honor at a ceremony dedicating a school’s connection to the city sewer system in the south-south of Nigeria.
- I once attended a Tupperware party.
Those items are both real and dumb, but none of them compare in severity with dumb things that I’ve thought and said. That sends me to James 3:8-9, “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.” You know how James describes the terrible power of the tongue. It’s not just a deadly poison, it’s also “a fire, a world of iniquity,” capable of defiling the whole body.
What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever said? I hate to think about that because too many examples come to mind. If my memory was better, there’d be even more: cutting com-ments, discouraging words, ignorant boasts, rash promises, snap judgments, improper judgments, words inadequate for the situation, and meaningless drivel.
I don’t enjoy such memories, but they have one positive effect. They can help me gain stronger appreciation of James 1:19, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” They can help me gain understanding of Proverbs 10:19, 17:27-28, and 18:13. They can help me practice the commands of Ephesians 4:29-32, to avoid harm and to impart grace through God’s kind help.
One of my first rules in ministry is, “Don’t make it worse.” Our thoughtless words are among the greatest dangers to others. Thank God that we can learn better and put what we learn into practice. Being dumb is bad, but staying dumb is far worse.