“Stupid is as stupid does.”

charging bearRemember the movie from 1994?

Forrest Gump, staring Tom Hanks, took us through a journey of a man who kept falling from one situation to the next and somehow came out bellying his low IQ.  In this movie, we learn a lot about the power of the human spirit.

We also got this great line:  stupid is as stupid does.  Who we are on the inside is who we are on the outside.  As a dear friend of mine who led a Celebrate Recovery ministry would often say, “Who you are will come out of your neck before it comes out of your mouth.”

True words.  There’s a Proverb with a similar idea:  Proverbs 17:12.

Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.

There’s a great deal of humor in the Proverbs.  They often have a sarcastic bite to them and this one is not any different.

Before we get to that, however, it’s important to go through what the Bible means when it says “fool”.  What’s often translated into English from Hebrew (the language of the Old Testament) is one word—even though Hebrew has several.  Here, the Hebrew word refers to a person without good judgment.

So this little Proverb is saying it’s better to meet a mama bear whose cubs have been stolen than to stand in the way of a person without good judgment.  Here’s the humor:  the “dumb animal” would have a reason to be angry and charge at someone stealing her babies while the person created in the image of God is so dumb they’re actually more dangerous. In other words, you’re better off meeting a wild animal than a wild person.

In the words of Forest Gump:  “stupid is as stupid does.”

So what do we learn here, brothers and sisters?

There are foolish people in our lives that we’re better off just letting them make fools of themselves than trying to stand in their way.  Should we try, they’ll simply plow right through us because their ignorance has convinced them they’re right.

When we face these people—and the Holy Spirit will show you—we must allow the words of this Proverb to saturate our understanding:  we’re better off handling a wild animal than a wild person.  You’ve been warned.