I opened my Franklin planner is this morning to this quote of the day by the 18th century German novelist and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “There is nothing more frightening than ignorance in action.”
I don’t know the context in which Goethe made this statement. I’m guessing from the social, political or philosophical viewpoint. Whatever the case, many of our problems exist when we blindly move forward without the proper facts or knowledge about what we are doing.
I suppose we men can all think of some situation where we have enthusiastically jumped in to tackle a tough task better reserved for a professional. All the while our wives cautiously ask, “Do you know what you’re doing?” “Of course,” we mumble. Hours later a plumber, electrician or repair man is called to clean up our mess.
More seriously, too many ignorantly live their lives apart from divine knowledge. The Bible speaks of the depravity of the pagan world and the disastrous results in living apart from God.
“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.” (Eph 4:17-20)
Sadly, many in our society have ignorantly embraced a hedonistic philosophy that has left God out of the picture. Self-indulgence. Pursuit of pleasure. Sensual gratification. These have replaced virtues of self-discipline, godliness, and spiritual enlightenment.
Recently we have witnessed a shameless and reckless disregard for law and order as people riot in the streets. Cars are burned. Windows are shattered. Cops are maligned. And people are spit upon. Why? When interviewed, none can really articulate an intelligent reason.
Last Friday women marched in the streets of Washington. Many carried vulgar signs. They seemed upset about losing their rights. Again, it is unclear what “rights” they’re worried about. Is it a woman’s “right to choose”? Which is code for abortion. A polite way to speak of killing unborn babies. (For more on this see Monday’s post). Nevertheless, the ignorance displayed both visually and verbally was appalling.
It is spiritual ignorance that ignores God’s moral code and his marriage laws. Broken homes, children without fathers, struggling single mothers, and rampant sexually transmitted diseases speak to the ruinous results of rejecting God’s revelation.
While it may seem like there is little we can do to stem the tide, each of us can live “soberly, righteously and godly in this present age” (Titus 2:12). We can be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt 5:13-16). We can practice what we profess.
Our behavior must not be conformed to the world’s standard, but transformed by Christ (Rom. 12:1-2). Or as Peter put it.”As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet 1:14-15).
In short, be good. Act respectful. Treat others with kindness. Love your spouse. Train your children in the Lord. Be morally pure. And love God with all your heart.
“Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:17).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman