But, wait a minute. Why do we say "You can't fix stupid"? Isn't stupid purely based on the choices the "stupid person" makes? If that's true, isn't it quite possible to "fix stupid" by changing the stupid decisions to sensible ones? You might think I'm over-simplifying this. You might think this is an "easier said than done" kind of situation. If so, read this first and then come back.
I believe the real truth is that you can fix stupid. I believe it's really simple and really hard. I also believe it's more important than we think.
Here are 2 BIG reasons we have to fix stupid . . .
- We give up on others too easily. I'm so guilty of this. When I take one of those spiritual gifts tests, mercy is way on the low end. I'm tough on other people. Sometimes that's just what they need. But sometimes they just need me to spend a lot of time, patience and energy to walk with them through something that looks super easy to me and feels super hard to them. Do you do this too? You say, "Just stop spending money you don't have." They say, "It's all I've ever known and I do it because I feel guilty about ten other things I've failed at in my life." You say, "Just eat healthier and get some exercise and you'll lose the weight." They say, "You have no idea how hard this is for me." We're wrong. They're right. It looks so much easier to us than they know it is for them. Patience and love are what they need.
- We give up on ourselves too easily. When I was 12 years old, I hit puberty. In less than a year I went from wearing size 12 slim jeans to men's size 30. I went from a skinny 11-year-old who could eat whatever I wanted without a thought, to a pudgy 12-year-old who gained weight with every bite of food. That was thirty-two years ago and the struggle has been very real every day since then. A few years ago I got connected to some great people who helped me learn some real skills and a plan for my personal fitness, but before that, I was up and down all the time. I vividly recall, during a few of my down times (up in weight, down emotionally) when I just gave up. I said to myself, "I'm just going to be fat. If people don't like that, it's their problem." But it wasn't their problem. It was mine. I knew I didn't want to be fat, so that was never a real option for me. The point is, I know that temptation to just give up on myself. So do you. There are two HUGE problems with giving up on yourself, though. One is that this world needs you and what you have to offer. Two is that when you give up on yourself, you'll give up on others too. Patience and love are what we need.
We have to face the truth that stupid is usually driven by pain. Are there instances where people are just not interested in change and have given up on themselves? Sure. And there's nothing you can really do for them when they're in that mindset. But that doesn't mean you have to write them off forever. Are there "stupid" mindsets you're stuck in? Sure. That doesn't mean you have to write yourself off either. Patience and love. Those are the orders of the day. For others and for ourselves.