by Dale Reeves
If you’ve never done something foolish that you regretted later, would you please raise your hand? Hmmmm. Why don’t I see any hands raised right now? If you’ve answered that question honestly, then I can safely assume that you are right there with me in the “foolish things I’ve done” club. To be fair, there are probably at least three categories of foolish things we could talk about:
- Foolish things we’ve done that no one knows about but God and us. (I think every single person reading this can relate to this one.)
- Foolish things we’ve said or done in front of others that we wish we could take back. (I probably say something I shouldn’t say to someone else about once a week or so, since I all too often say what I’m thinking.) I’m guessing a lot of you can relate to this one as well.
- Foolish things we’ve done on a national stage for everyone to see broadcast in the news and all over social media. (There are very few of us who can answer in the affirmative for this one.)
It’s been virtually impossible to miss what happened at the 94th Academy Awards ceremony held last Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Even though you may not spend much time watching actors congratulate each other at the annual Oscar’s Awards, I’m sure you’re aware of what happened when comedic host Chris Rock made a joke about the shaved head of Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Chris Rock thought this was an innocent joke, and evidently wasn’t aware of her medical condition of alopecia, which can bring about significant hair loss. Will Smith appeared to initially laugh it off. But that all changed when he saw his wife’s reaction.
The Slap Heard Around the World
After seeing his wife roll her eyes in reaction to Chris Rock’s joke, Will Smith promptly arose from his seat, headed to the stage, and slapped Chris across the face. Many in the crowd and millions watching on TV that night initially thought this was some kind of (pre-April Fools) prank between the two celebrities. Later it was revealed that this joke was not a part of the rehearsal or in the teleprompter script. After the slap across the face that will go down in Oscar’s history, Will returned to his seat, visibly angry, and yelled back to the host to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth, using some profanity I won’t mention here.
Chris Rock laughed the moment off and continued with the presentation the best he could in front of a stunned audience. During a commercial break, several Hollywood actors approached Will to offer some support. Perhaps the most significant conversation occurred between Will and actor Denzel Washington, who reportedly said to him,
“At your highest moment be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
Less than an hour later, Will Smith won the award for Best Actor for his role in the film, King Richard, in which he played Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. Though Will has won numerous awards in the past for his music and acting career, this is his first Oscar. When he stepped on stage to accept the Academy Award, an emotional Will Smith spoke about how fierce a defender Richard Williams was of his family, suggesting that he saw Chris Rock’s joke about his wife as something he needed to defend—thus his reaction. Several days later, through social media, Smith acknowledged that violence is never the correct response. Among the words he shared were these:
“Violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. . . . I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness. . . . I am a work in progress.”
Speaking of Foolish Things
The scene that took place at last Sunday’s Academy Awards will continue to be analyzed by many in the media. Chris Rock declined to press charges, even as we await what kind of disciplinary measures are meted out by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. So, I return to the question I began with today: “If you’ve never done something foolish that you regretted later, would you please raise your hand?”
One definition of foolish is this: “Having or showing a lack of good sense, judgment, or discretion.” Today we celebrate something in our country that has been celebrated for many years called “April Fools’ Day.” There are a number of plausible theories I discovered when researching its true origin. Most of us think of this as a day in which we try to pull practical jokes or pranks on our friends and family members. I have a brother-in-law who has planned and executed some of the best stunts we’ve experienced on April 1 in our family—though he’s never slapped me.
The Bible has several things to say in regard to fools and foolish things. Here are a few of those nuggets of wisdom:
“The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips.”
—Proverbs 18:7, NLT
“Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.”
—Proverbs 29:11, NLT
“Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool; you’ll only look foolish yourself. Answer a fool in simple terms so he doesn’t get a swelled head.”
—Proverbs 26:4, 5, The Message
“God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.”
—1 Corinthians 1:27, 28, NLT
Radio and Bible teacher Woodrow Kroll has said, “Only a fool thinks he can fool God.” Today, I am grateful to serve a God who is capable of forgiving all the foolish things that Will Smith, you, and I have ever done.