My son yesterday called someone stupid. As far as I can tell, it wasn’t something like “I think playing princess is stupid,” which might be understandable. Rather it was something like “You’re stupid.” I was shocked. My child? We have no television. We screen all DVDs. We keep track of all their friends, and we do not use the word stupid at our house. Where could he have learned such behavior?
Here is the point where I should have remembered James 4:1: Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? It really doesn’t matter where David heard that particular word. He was angry because his lusts, his desire for his own way was thwarted.
When the fellow playmate came in to tell her mother about the shocking behavior, I resisted the urge to intervene at that moment. Don’t ask me why, but I felt (and it was a gut feeling) like it would be better to wait until we had some quiet time.`
I asked David if he did call his friend stupid, and he acknowledged that he did.
I brought up Psalm 34:13: Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. There were a number of verses I could have brought up, but I had read that verse that morning, and we sing a song with that verse too.
I asked him if calling a person stupid is evil. Now, I understand that a good number of people joke by calling someone stupid. In my experience, most of the time it is disrespectful, unkind, and hurtful. So I do believe that calling names is evil. It is not edifying.
Do you think that David believed calling someone stupid was evil? Not at all. Unkind, maybe, but not really bad. Perhaps we’re making progress. Time will tell.