How Ignorant Can You Be?

faithfearThe panelist on the news program made no effort to conceal her disgust with those on the ‘other side.’ Her professed aim was dialogue. Her demeanor spoke more than her words and plainly said, “I think you are ignorant, unworthy of my time.” Her intellect and accomplishments blinded her to any other perspective other than her own. Recently I read about a professor who is black and an evangelical Christian. George Yancey said that he has experienced active discrimination because of his race but that it is nothing compared to the prejudice he deals with in academia where it is widely assumed that no one could be an intellectual and a serious Christian at the same time. He finds it nearly impossible to bridge the chasm that pride, presuppositions, and stereotypes create. (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/opinion/sunday/a-confession-of-liberal-intolerance.html)

The conceit of ‘knowing it all’ is not just the curse of the rich, or the famous, or the Right, or the Left, or the Christian, or of the atheist!

A man just assumes a woman could never understand his world.
A woman decides, in advance, he would not want to understand hers.
A black American insists that a white one ‘doesn’t get it,’ and the white American simply decides it’s easier not to have the conversation.
Republicans and Democrats talk past each other, hearing the words but missing the meaning, both convinced they are the better patriots.
Young and old people do it.
Parent, do you listen to your child or are you so full of ‘adult’ that you do not really pay attention?

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2, NIV) Those few words are packed with meaning for us who are secure in the love of Christ Jesus.  We freely acknowledge that we do not know it all, we are able to listen with a tenderness that allows them to speak.  We are marked by patience that lets them find their words and thoughts and, even when they are simply wrong, we are willing to hold on, steadying the dialogue with careful reason as we search for clarity. Among Bible’s collection of wisdom, we find these gems:  “Better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud. Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful. The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant words are persuasive.” (Proverbs 16:19-21, NLT)

I am not suggesting that all ideas are of equal merit. There are a lot of foolish people spouting nonsense in our world. (I think that 24/7 cable news channels exist for them.) Our response cannot be to shout louder, to demean people with attacks. In the Spirit of Christ, let us pray for humility, for the ability to listen, to really talk with others – even those who far from our perspective. There is much to learn when we let the Light in us shine in every situation.

Here is a word from the Word.  Lord, speak to us.  “About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:1-4, NLT)

___________

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart,

Wean it from earth, thro’ all its pulses move.

Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,

And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

 

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,

No sudden rending of the veil of clay;

No angel visitant, no opening skies,

But take the dimness of my soul away.

 

Hast Thou not bid us love Thee, God and King,

All Thine own, soul, heart, and strength, and mind?

I see Thy cross, there teach my heart to cling.

O let me seek Thee and O let me find.

 

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh.

Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,

To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,

Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

 

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,

One holy passion filling all my frame,

The baptism of the heav’n descended Dove,

My heart an altar and Thy love the flame!

 

Frederick Cook Atkinson | George Croly

© Words: Public Domain

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