I just watched a video on Facebook where a Pastor was rightfully denouncing racism and racist people. (See video here)
But afterward, he sort of apologized for using the word “Stupid” and it got me thinking… As a Christian, is it wrong to point out someone’s stupidity?
What follows is my understanding of scripture on this matter:
Did you know being stupid is a sin and Christians are called to denounce sin?
“The thought of foolishness is sin…” Proverbs 24:9
“Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all…” 1st Timothy 5:20
The Dictionary Defines Stupid as – Having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense.
The Dictionary Defines Foolish as – Lack of common sense or good judgment; unwise.
The Dictionary goes on to describe foolish as: Senseless, vacant, vapid, simple, witless, fatuous, silly, inane, stupid and asinine.
We can see from the above definitions that being foolish and being stupid are synonymous.
So, why are the definitions of these words important?
Because the Bible uses the word Fool or Foolish almost 200 times to warn people NOT to be foolish (stupid).
Paul, the Apostle called the Galatians foolish – Gal 3:1
Jesus called the disciples fools – Luke 24:25
Moses called the Israelites foolish – Deuteronomy 32:6
God called an entire nation foolish – Deuteronomy 32:21
The New Testament word translated here is “Anoetos” and means, “Unintelligent, Unwise.”
The Old Testament word Translated here is “Nabal” and means, “Senseless.”
There is one verse (Matthew 5:22) that needs special attention.
In the KJV Jesus said, “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
On the surface, this verse seems to contradict my position, however, deeper study is necessary for the truth to unfold.
The Contemporary English Version of the Bible translates this verse as:
“But I promise you that if you are angry with someone, you will have to stand trial. If you call someone a fool, you will be taken to court. And if you say that someone is worthless, you will be in danger of the fires of hell.”
The New living Translation says:
“But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”
Comparing these translations helps to clarify what Jesus is actually saying.
Clearly He’s not just talking about calling someone a fool because He does exactly that in Luke 24:25 and He cannot contradict Himself (neither can He sin).
The Hebrew word translated “fool” in Matthew 5:22 is NOT he same as in the other verses, it is the word “Moros” which means; impious, godless and useless.
This word specifically expresses condemnation.
Thus, it’s clear in Matthew 5:22 Jesus is NOT referring to calling someone a fool but rather condemning someone for their moral character, which only God can legally do.
The problem is, the Bible says we do have the power of death and life in our mouths, so when we condemn someone we are actually pronouncing a curse upon them.
In Matthew 5:22, Jesus is specifically talking about judging and condemning someone for their value as a human being, someone whom God has fearfully and wonderfully made in His own image and likeness.
In essence, this is a personal reproach and an insult to God… hence the danger of hell fire.
The bottom line of this issue is this…
You do not need to apologize for pointing out someone’s stupidity if, in the spirit of love, your intention is to warn them or others away from it.
God thought warning people about stupidity was so important He devoted entire Books of the Bible to it… According to bible categorization there are 5 specific Books of Wisdom, chief of which is the Book of Proverbs.
The first 4 verses of Proverbs clearly outline it’s purpose:
“These are the wise sayings of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
They show you how to know wisdom and teaching, to find the words of understanding.
They help you learn about the ways of wisdom and what is right and fair.
They give wisdom to the child-like, and much learning and wisdom to those who are young.” (NLV)
To summarize, the purpose of this Book is to get you to stop being stupid and start being wise.
Pointing out someone’s lack of wisdom is neither here not there, what makes it right or wrong is the motive of your heart.
Are you pointing out someone’s stupidity to insult them and boost your own ego? This is Wrong!
Are you pointing out someone’s foolishness to warn them or others away from it and toward wisdom? This is Right!