Mama washed my mouth out.
Don’t be offended by the word stupid. It’s actually an excellent word choice for relaying an important concept—the idea of thinking or acting without common sense or good judgment. But, I’m aware that in the old days, the word stupid was highly offensive to many.
My Mama was from that old school. She never liked the word stupid and wouldn’t allow any of us four kids to say it. To her, it was a curse-word. I’ll never forget that day I came home for school and let it slip out of my mouth. Bad choice. She took me straight to the bathroom and washed my mouth out with soap because, as she put it, I used the S-Word. Ever since, I’ve avoided using the S-Word, that is, until it started appearing in modern translations of the Bible. That’s when I decided to study its true meaning.
In our day, the word stupid fits the original meaning more than some of the other popular words that point to the same concept—words like cockamamie, goofy, dumb, silly, wacky, scatterbrained or foolish. The word stupid came from its root word, stupor. If you were so concentrated on something, in such a daze or stupor over what you were doing that you were completely unaware that your house was burning down around you, you were considered stupid
Being stupid has nothing to do with a lack of intelligence or ability. It has everything to do with our judgment and actions. The great philosopher, Forrest Gump said it right, “Stupid is as stupid does.” Some of the most intelligent and capable people make the most stupid decisions. They get so focused on less important activities like work, money, things or hobbies and lose what’s most important in their lives, their families, morals and God.
Numerous modern translations of the Bible use the word stupid in the place of older, out-of-date words. In our day, the word stupid more accurately conveys the true meaning of the biblical concept. For example, Solomon, known as the Bible’s wisest man said, “Stupidity is the lot of the naïve.” Proverbs 14:18 CEV. The Apostle Paul scolded the young preacher Titus for his lack of focus and his improper priorities. He instructed Titus to get back to what mattered most in life. “Avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, and fights about the Law, because they are useless and worthless.” Titus 3:9 CEV.
The opposite of being stupid is being wise—thinking, desiring and acting the way Jesus did. It’s focusing and acting on what counts most. Being wise is getting out of our stupid stupor, waking up before our house burns down spiritually and morally.
For the next few days, I invite you to follow me as I explore some things we can do to stop acting stupid and start being wiser. If the word stupid still offends you a little, maybe in time you’ll get over it. If not, maybe you can still agree with me on the importance of getting out of our cultural and media stupors so that we won’t be stupid but wise. Bill