Choices change our lives…
By Barbara Dahlgren
There is a fine line between wisdom and common sense. Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge what is good or true. However, common sense is good sense and sound judgment in practical matters. Common sense needs no specialized knowledge or training. It is just everyday stuff that people should know. That’s why they call it “common.”
However, the phrase “common sense” is almost a misnomer today, because it isn’t very common anymore.
The Bible says, “Folly is a joy to him who has no sense…” (Proverbs 15:21). I found one translation that used the word “wisdom” here, but the rest said “no sense.” In fact, the International Standard Version goes so far as to say, “Stupidity is the delight of the senseless.” I’m not saying those who lack common sense are stupid, but they certainly are irritating.
Some people don’t care if they hurt or inconvenience others because they are looking out for themselves. In their minds, they are the most important people in the world. They don’t really lack common sense; they are just rude and arrogant! However, those without common sense don’t even know what they are doing is inappropriate.
Here is a prime example: Years ago my husband and I went to a movie in the middle of the day. I’m sure you know why – cheaper prices, less of a crowd, etc. Since this very large theater was empty, we got to sit in our favorite spot – right in the middle of the theater. Just before the movie started, a family of four came in, moseyed into the row ahead of us, and sat directly in front of us. This was before stadium seating, so we would have had to peer over and around their heads to see the show. Five hundred seats to choose from and they pick the ones obstructing our view. Apparently clueless, one of them looked back at us and said, “I hope this movie is good!”
We smiled. As the previews of coming attractions started to roll, my husband whispered, “Do you want to move?”
I responded quietly with, “Yes! I want to move directly in front of them.” But we didn’t. Wisdom dictated it would be better not to make an issue out of this, so we just moved four seats to the left.
Synonyms for a lack of common sense might be words like oblivious, unaware, dense, thick, unobservant, foolish, and clueless. I hesitate to use the word stupid because some very academic, highly intelligent people can be clueless.
Consider this… We as Christians should not be oblivious, dense, foolish, or clueless. We should be aware and observant. We should be attuned to those around us and concerned about what we do because it influences and affects others. It also impacts our own lives.
Common sense would have us ask a few questions before we do the simplest of tasks. If I do this, what will happen? Will it inconvenience others? Will it hurt me? Will it hurt others?
Those that lack common sense should definitely ask God for it. And those who have it should ask God for the wisdom and love to deal with those who don’t.
One final thought… Here’s a little obituary I found about the death of common sense. Although funny, there is a lot of truth mixed in with the laughter.
The Death of Common Sense
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend named Common Sense who had been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valued lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn’t always fair, and maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies such as don’t spend more than you earn. He had reliable parenting strategies like adults are in charge, not the kids. His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. He lost the will to live when churches became businesses and criminals started receiving better treatment than their victims. He gave up the ghost when he felt unappreciated and lonely because there was no one left he could identify with.
Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents Truth and Trust, his wife Discretion, his daughter Responsibility, and his son Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers named I Want It Now, Someone Else Is to Blame, and I’m a Victim, plus one sister called Ima Whiner. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.