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A View from the Altar / The agony of idiots
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The agony of idiots

The title sounds way more harsh than I wish, but it’s too accurate to change.  So there it is.

One of the most difficult issues in Christian ministry at every level is dealing with people who are tragically stupid.  Stupidity is blameworthy when it’s actually a lack of faith.

Pastors must figure out how to deal with people who do profoundly foolish and destructive things and yet are dippy enough to not understand what they are doing.  So the preacher has to deal with having to explain why thus-and-so is wrong, in some cases has to explain that “wrong” means “don’t ever do this,” then has to deal with the outfall when the inevitable reaping begins.

Most preachers, even the marginal ones, get around to mentioning that you shouldn’t steal, shouldn’t lie, shouldn’t commit adultery, and so on.  The intelligent people who wish to sin generally calculate that somehow it’s worth it, and they press on.  Later they discover they were mistaken and rebellious, but at least they comprehend.  But the truly idiotic never do quite grasp it all.  Their unbelief has this additional layer.  They not only don’t believe, but don’t really see why they should.  The way of holiness will make even fools look wise if they’ll believe it enough to walk in it.  (Isa 35:8)  Yes, faith can overcome a low I.Q. any day.  But unbelief fortified with stupidity is nitromethane powered tragedy.

Ask any pastor who must answer for a gaggle of foolish people, and he’ll tell you.  Like the sons of Heth, fools are a grief of mind.  They do harmful things and laugh about it.  They wreck their lives with destructive decisions and then boast about it.  When the harvest of heartbreak arrives all too soon, they blame everybody else.  The Bible describes the pastor’s heart by showing how the prophets view Israel: tears, sighing, and heaviness.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

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