20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (1 Co 1:20–31). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Church Family: Family Wisdom
Every family has pride. Pride is what keeps us together in our groups. We don’t stick around people we are not proud of very long. That pride is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not always a good thing either. It can give us a false sense of identity, self-security, and self-righteousness, and it often teaches us to look down upon others who are not like us.
The Corinthians had a problem with this. They were proud of their wisdom, spirituality, and miraculous power they displayed. They gathered into different groups and looked down and spoke poorly about their other brothers and sisters, who were not part of their particular group or family. They propped up their own family by standing upon the heads of others that they believed were not as good as themselves.
That is the world’s way of finding family identity and I have often heard my own family say, “common sense says…” followed by some reason that is addressing a problem in other people on one hand and propping up our family pride in the other, because we are better than them and know better, and furthermore, they should know and be just as good as us. The problem is: it’s just not true. Common sense (at least the idea that there is some form of basic wisdom governing all life and available to all people) is a myth. There is no such thing.
If you don’t believe me, I invite you to try an experiment. Learn a foreign language. Languages all have rules and quirks that betray common sense, and the only people who really understand why they are the way they are, are the people who are fluent in them. Actually, that is not even the case. Often we understand less about our own native tongue than those who have had to learn in as a second or third language. They ask the why questions where we just assume it’s always been that way. For instance, in English (my native language) we add the letters “er” to the end of a word to make it mean “more” and “est” to a word to make it mean “most”. Yet for one of our most common words, we break that rule. We do not say “Good, Gooder, Goodest” We completely change the rules and the word around to “better” and “best”. Whoever dreamed that up was not following common sense. What makes it worse though is that we, who have lived with it for hundreds of years, claiming to have common sense ourselves, have never fixed it either. We’ve grown comfortable with that little bit of foolishness.
Paul reminds the Corinthians, and us, that there is no common sense we have in ourselves. He reminds us all to look back to what God called us out of when we first started following Him. Don’t just look at your good days, but remember those bad days as well. We all were fools once, and if we’re honest, the only thing we can be proud of is God who loved us, saved us, and has not given up on us yet.
Reflection: Who are you giving up on today? Friends? Family? Co-workers? Maybe even yourself? Is it common sense guiding that decision or is it God’s example of true wisdom and love?
Trying to hear the music in the din of many voices.
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