It astounded me to hear of the many different ways people wrecked their lives during my years in private practice. They always told me what they had done and then wondered why their lives were such a mess. I wanted to tell them that given their current behavior, they were a country music song waiting to happen. In my best Forrest Gump impression I would just say, "Stupid is as stupid does." Eat a box of chocolates every day and you are going to get fat. Welcome to Life 101. To understand how crooked behavior occurs, read about crooks. Not only are they in trouble morally, but most of them are just dumb.
In a San Diego courtroom two men were on trial for robbery. The prosecuting attorney was examining the witness to the crime. You know how it goes!
"Were you at the scene when the robbery took place?"
"And did you observe the two robbers?"
"Are those two men present in the court today?"
Before the witness could answer, the two robbers raised their hands.
One day a fellow had too much to drink and decided to rob a convenience store to support his habit. He stumbled into the store and pulled a gun on the startled clerk. The drunk yelled, "Give me all of your money or I'll call the police!" The clerk chuckled under his breath and said, "OK — call the police — here's the phone." The drunk mumbled back, "OK, if you don't think I'll do it, I will." He called the police. He really did. And they really arrested him.
There are many ways that you can act in a dumb manner. A man had a flat tire right outside the mental hospital. As he was changing the tire, the patients were watching from the windows and from the yard. As he changed the tire, the lug nuts rolled down into a drain. Now he had a tire and no lug nuts. A patient was watching the dilemma and wandered over to help. He suggested to the man that he take off one lug nut from each of the other tires which would give him enough to hold the tire in place. The man was amazed. He said, "That's brilliant. Thanks. What are you doing in a place like this?" The man replied, "I'm crazy, not stupid."
There are many different kinds of knowledge but what the world needs now is life knowledge — wisdom. The problem with wisdom is that by the time most people are wise enough to watch their step, they're too old to go anywhere. If I could give homework to the world, it would be for them to seriously read and examine the book of Proverbs. It contains illustrations of truth compressed into short sayings. It is like Hebrew bumper stickers. It's not a book of promises; it's a book of principles. The proverbs are not legal guarantees in which God tells us that if we do one thing, another will happen; they are guidelines for living our lives. You have to be careful because interpretation is important. You have to look at the situation. Look more closely for the principle to be applied than the problem to be solved. Exodus tells us to not commit adultery — you are breaking God's law. Proverbs says do not commit adultery because you might get beaten up and maybe killed. Proverbs is life in the practical.
A farmer was teaching his son how to plow. He took him into the field and told him to set his eyes on a point and head in that direction. He told him to go back and forth and back and forth until he had straight rows. When the old farmer returned to follow the progress, his son's rows looked like big question marks.
The farmer, in exasperation, told him again to fix his eyes on a point and asked why he had not followed the directions. His son told him that he had followed the directions. He had fixed his eyes on a cow and followed her around. Fixing our standard on changing and moving morals leads our lives to a big question mark.
A lot of people base their lives on things that move very quickly. Their lives are so crooked that they will never get good results. Wisdom is being able to see life from God's perspective and then living it out in the real world. Read Proverbs this month. Discover nuggets from God's gold mine. Study wisdom. Repeat the Proverbs. Get them into your long-term memory. We can't apply principles we do not know. Remember wisdom is remembering to live life God's way. It is a cognitive thing.
Let's think about it. The Lord gave us two ends to use. One end is to think with and the other is to sit on. Our success in life depends on which one we choose. Heads we win, tails we lose.
Charles Lowery is a member of First Baptist Church, Bossier City, Louisiana, founder and president of LIFE, Inc., and is in a fulltime speaking ministry. You may contact LIFE, Inc. at 903-881-9422 or www.charleslowery.