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Stupid Is as Stupid Does

In the summer of 1994, the world was introduced to Forrest Gump. This unlikely hero played by Tom Hanks follows the advice and wisdom of his mother throughout this film. Expressions known as Gump-isms simplify life similar to the parables of Jesus. While sitting on a bench waiting for his bus to arrive, Forrest says “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” Or while addressing his drill sergeant, Gump replies “stupid is as stupid does sir.”

He who heeds instruction and correction is [not only himself] in the way of life [but also] is a way of life for others. And he who neglects or refuses reproof [not only himself] goes astray [but also] causes to err and is a path toward ruin for others, Proverbs 10:17.

While Forrest is credited for coining this phrase, a biblical author hints about this in the book of Proverbs. Stupid is used 36 times in the Bible. Several of these are written by King Solomon who is trying the pass on his wisdom to his children. In the passage above, Solomon compares stupidity with stubbornness. If someone is trying to help you by revealing an error, flaw or imperfection, it’s in your best interest to listen and adjust what you’re doing wrong.

Whoever loves instruction and correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is like a brute beast, stupid and indiscriminating, Proverbs 12:1.

Unfortunately, if the timing of a correction, rebuke or reproof catches you off guard, a defensive spirit may cause you to disregard this information. Using the modern saying “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different outcome” is the epitome of stupid. Unless individuals develop a teachable spirit, stupidity becomes a self fulfilled prophecy by not learning from past mistakes. May this blog help you to break free from a stubborn spirit.

by Jay Mankus

Who Do You Think You Are?

When a writer transitions from the third to first person, one of two things is about to happen. The person reading this letter or note is about to receive a compliment or be rebuked. After a series of generalizations in chapter 1, the apostle Paul changes the topic of conversation in Romans 2. Paul stops beating around the bush and gets straight to the point. A modern interpretation/translation would sound something like “who do you think you are?”

Therefore you have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce]. [But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things, Romans 2:1-2.

Paul even uses the expression “O man,” to point out his disappointment with Christian leaders in the church of Rome. Paul eludes to those in power elevating themselves above other citizens to sit as judge and jury. It’s obvious that many of these Romans either forgot or never heard of the account of Jesus and a woman caught in adultery, John 8:1-11. Apparently, Jesus began writing in the sand with his finger as members of a community were in the process of stoning this woman to death. Some scholars have suggested that Jesus writes down the secret sins of the people holding stones, about to condemn this woman for her actions.

3 And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s judgment and elude His sentence and adverse verdict? 4 Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? – Romans 2:3-4

Unlike Jesus who addressed a crowd of condemning men with a simple question, “let he who is without sin be the first to throw their stone,” Paul is blunt. Without thinking about feelings, Paul calls his audience hypocrites, doing that which they accuse others of doing. Whether amoral or immoral, the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 7:1-5 was not being implemented. Instead of removing the plank from their own eyes, these teetotalers were blinded from their own hypocrisy. Romans 2 provides a teachable moment for anyone lives by the motto do as I say, not as I do. May this passage convict those who need to be humbled and brought back down to earth, reality.

by Jay Mankus

Until You Repent

Taking advice from a stranger usually doesn’t go over well.  Some will be insulted, others perturbed and most will shut down, unwilling to go any further with the current conversation.  However, when God is the stranger, perhaps you should open your heart and mind to the message provided.

Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings, Proverbs 1:23.

In a letter addressed to his sons, Solomon stresses the importance of listening like a voice of reason.  Trying to urge his children to avoid the same mistakes he made, Solomon reinforces the principle of repentance.  If you drive long enough, sooner or later you will miss your turn.  Thus, if you want to reach your desired destination, making a U-turn is a must.

But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm, Proverbs 1:33.

The Lord promises the blessing of a safe life to those who heed this call.  Yet, for those too stubborn to stop, drop and pray, calamity is awaiting, with disaster, trouble and distress on the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  While the choice is obvious, too many people end up on the wrong side of the fence.  If you’re currently wondering, what the hell is going on, its likely heartache will continue until you repent.

by Jay Mankus

Attitude is Everything

As a child, I remember hearing teachers address specific individuals during class, taking time outside of their scheduled lesson plan.  In the form of an exhortation or rebuke, growing concerns were verbalized.  Subsequently, whenever a student was out of line, the adult in the room proclaimed, “my child you need an attitude adjustment.”

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, Philippians 2:14.

Today, attitudes are displayed through one’s feelings, postures and stances taken.  If you listen to someone’s comments, its easy to ascertain the good attitudes from the bad ones.  Unfortunately, the Me first movement in this age is poisoning souls.  Thus, the selfish will whisper under their breath, “I’ll show them,” turning to revenge over repentance.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things, Philippians 4:8.

As a lack of responsibility is passed down from this current generation to the next, excuses override the truth.  Instead of receiving a harsh talking to or a spanking, parents often ruin life’s teachable moments blaming the critic rather than their child.  It’s no wonder that coaches and teachers are fighting a losing battle.  Attitude is everything, but if maturity isn’t taught to young people, parents will continue to justify and rationalize wrong behavior.

by Jay Mankus

Developing a Faith like That

After a series of disappointments, Jesus takes an inventory of his twelve disciples, wondering if they will ever get it.  Cutting directly to the point, Jesus asks “who do you say that I am?”  Despite previous and future blunders, Simon Peter get’s it right this time, “Son of the living God.”  While the timing was right, Jesus unveils the future, what will happen and by whom He will endure suffering.  From one moment of greatness to the gutter, Peter tries to privately rebuke Jesus.  Instead the tables are turned as Peter begins to think like the devil.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns,” Mark 8:33.

In the passage which follows, Jesus lays out a three step plan for developing a genuine faith which takes into consideration the mind of God.  After nearly three full years with Jesus, the disciples struggled to break free from human concerns.

1. Deny Yourself: Take on the very nature of a servant, placing the needs of others above yourself.

2. Take Up Your Cross: Set out on ascertaining what God’s will is and make this your calling in life.

3. Follow Christ: Through prayer, study of the Bible and worship, follow in the foot steps of Jesus.

I’m not sure who first said the mind is a terrible thing to waste, yet this also applies to faith.  Christians can do the right thing, say the right thing and worship in an ideal church, but still fail miserably in their faith.  Like any competition, if you don’t play a complete game, it only takes one bad stretch to blow it.  Therefore, as you wrestle with balancing necessary human concerns, may you take Jesus’ advice in Mark 8:34 and develop into a faith like Christ.

by Jay Mankus

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