"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
January 27, 2010
I've heard the saying, "What you don't know, can't hurt you." There's also another one that says, "Ignorance is bliss." These can be used in many different contexts, but are they really true? Absolutely not!
Several years ago, when I was single and living in Missouri, I was cleaning the bathroom in my mobile home one Saturday morning. I honestly did not know that mixing certain cleaners together could cause a toxic reaction, that could be potentially dangerous to your health. I'm not sure what I was using, but to the best of my recollection, I think I had poured some clorox into my toilet bowl. I then decided to spray on some other cleaner to sanitize the lid and rim of the bowl. When the two chemicals mixed, it instantly let off a horrible odor. Not only did it stink, but it made me sick. I had a hard time breathing and began coughing. I opened my back door to air out the house, then ran outside to try to get some air. I remember sitting outside on my porch, and my lungs were burning, and I could only take shallow breaths. My nose was also burning and I couldn't quit coughing. It was one of those rare times when I got scared, and thought I was going to have to go to the ER. Of course, the closest ER was 30 minutes away. I did some serious praying! Thankfully, I was able to remain relatively calm. Eventually, the coughing stopped and I began breathing easier. But it took a couple days for my lungs to feel completely clear again; and for me to be able to breathe deeply, without it burning.
So the saying, "What you don't know, can't hurt you," was definitely not true in this instance. I was telling one of my sisters about it afterwards, and she told me just how dangerous mixing certain cleaners together can be. She knew of a lady who had done that, and she had died from breathing the toxic fumes. The lady was home alone and had passed out in the bathroom; leaving her there to continue breathing the fumes. Until she heard that, my sister hadn't realized how dangerous and life threatening it could be either.
If I hadn't run outside when I did, it very likely could have caused me to pass out, which would have left me in the room where the toxic fumes were at. God had His hand on me that day and spared my life, despite my stupidity and lack of knowledge. So sometimes what we don't know, really can hurt us.
I've also heard this saying used in the context of keeping secrets from someone. But what's the motive behind keeping the secret? Is it something that you know could damage your relationship, or cause hurt for the other person? Are you trying to protect yourself because you did something you shouldn't have, and you don't want to get caught?
Many, many years ago I had a lady confide in me that she had been having an affair, and she didn't want her husband to find out about it. She told me after the affair had supposedly ended. In this instance, things hadn't worked out with the other man, so she didn't want her husband to know about it and leave her. I really didn't want to know about it either, and had wished she had never told me about it! At the time she was trying to live a double life. She was attending church and teaching a Sunday School class for children, still living with her husband and trying to pretending that everything was okay in her marriage; while sneaking out of the house and meeting up with this other man. What struck me most at the time, was the fact that she wasn't sorry for what she'd done and didn't seem to feel any remorse whatsoever. It was if she were bragging that she hadn't got caught and had supposedly gotten away with something.
So what her husband didn't know at the time couldn't hurt him? Or him being ignorant of the fact that his wife was cheating on him was bliss? Other than having to live with her conscience, it seemed as if she got away with it; at least for a time. But it did damage our friendship. We were never close after that incident, and we rarely spent time together or talked. Perhaps I didn't react as she thought I would to her "news"; or perhaps after she told me, she was worried about what I would do with that information. I felt as if I couldn't trust her; and what she had done, as well as her attitude about it, caused me to lose respect for her. A few years later, she and her husband divorced. The two of us weren't around one another very often and didn't talk much, so I have no idea whether or not her husband ever found out about it or not. But regardless, people were hurt and trust was broken.
Employees can try to get by with things on the job by thinking, "What my employer doesn't know won't hurt them." But more than likely, it will one day catch up with them and they will get caught. It may not happen immediately, but the day will come when actions will be revealed and things will come out into the open. Even if their boss may not catch them, other co-workers will somehow see or find out about it. What amazes me, is how often the employee will then get defensive and act as if they're the ones who have been taken advantage of and hurt.
One of my pet peeves is people acting like they don't know something, thinking that makes them unaccountable for it. If you don't know something, say you don't know. If you don't want to do something, say so. If you misunderstood or forgot, then admit to it. But don't play dumb to try and cover up.
I had an employee at one time who was constantly saying, "No one told me that," or "I didn't know, you didn't tell me." I could have an employee meeting with her sitting in the room right in front of me, and later if she forgot or messed up, that would always be her excuse. It was so frustrating. I wanted to get in her face and say, "Liar, liar, fire in pants!" (That's how a deaf girl I know says it, instead of "Liar, liar, pants on fire.") I knew that she had been told, but she would always say that I had failed to give her the information. Apparently, if she was told in a group setting, she didn't feel like it applied to her. Perhaps she wanted to be told the information personally. She seemed to think if she acted like she didn't know, then everything would be fine and she was unaccountable for it. Or that her mistake or failure to do a specific job would be excused and be okay.
Ignorance, whether real or pretend, isn't bliss. Often it just makes a person act or look unintelligent, and causes the people around them to be frustrated. Living in your own little world where you pretend that you don't care if you know anything or not is not blissful, nor does it mean there will be no hurt. We can't live protected from the world around us. We can't try to survive life not wanting to know things or staying ignorant; thinking that will keep us safe and happy.
These are just a few examples of how wrong these sayings truly are in our everyday life. But there are even more severe consequences of individuals thinking, "What I don't know can't hurt me," or "Ignorance is bliss," when it comes to spiritual matters.
"If I don't accept Jesus into my heart and receive salvation, then it can't hurt me. When I stand before God (as we all must do), I'll just say, 'Sorry, I didn't know!'"
"If I do things my own way instead of obeying God and doing what's right, I'll just tell Him that I didn't know any better; or that I intended to make things right later."
"If I don't attend church or read the Bible, then I won't know what's sin or not sin, then I can't be held accountable for it."
"If I'm a good person and help people, then I don't need to be saved, and God will let me into Heaven anyway."
The truth is, we all know what's right and wrong. We know what we should and shouldn't do. We know that we need to receive salvation in order to enter into Heaven. We know the right way to live. You may not be as well versed on the scriptures as others are, but you still know enough to know about God and salvation. You still know the right way to live your life. You know what you need to do and not do. Using ignorance as an escape route is not smart, nor will it keep you out of trouble. And it certainly is not blissful, nor will it keep you from hurt.
James 4:17 says, "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin."
In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus tells the parable of some young women waiting to attend a wedding. (Maybe they were waiting to be brides; I've heard both, and still don't quite understand myself, but doubt it matters.) Some brought extra oil for their lamps, but some didn't. The ones without extra oil had to run to town to buy more just when the groom came. They missed out.
The common message from this is that you should be ready for Jesus to come for His church at any time, day or night. But many of Jesus' parables seem to have two meanings that are both right. In this one, you might notice that the groom didn't come until dark. If he had come early, all the women would have been prepared. The ones without extra oil were counting on him to come in the daytime. They didn't know (and what they didn't know did hurt them).
Many people today are counting on Jesus to return soon. I've actually known a few people who seemed proud that they had a huge debt. They were confident that Jesus would come for us all before they would need to pay up. But, even though we should be prepared for Him to come tonight, we should also stock up on our supply of oil, and be prepared to wait around for Him until night.
3 cans biscuits
1 stick butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Cut each biscuit into four pieces. Mix white sugar and cinnamon together. Pin in a ziplock bag; add biscuits and shake well, making sure they are all well covered. Place in a tube or bundt pan. Melt butter, and stir in brown sugar. Pour over biscuit pieces. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until done.
I'm sure we've all those things happen to us where the timing is just ironic and bizarre. That recently happened to me and Jon. We were sitting at a stoplight at the end of our street and a K-9 unit police car went by. Jon commented on it, and I told him that I had seen it go by our house different times. I had wondered if perhaps the officer lived in one of the neighborhoods further on down past our house. We also have another officer that does live a few houses from ours, but it's not the K-9 unit car that sits in front of his home. Jon mentioned that it was nice to have officers living close by because hopefully that would deter anyone around in any of the neighborhoods close to us from making meth, selling drugs, or robbing homes. I told him that I really didn't think we had to worry about any of our immediate neighbors making meth or selling drugs. Jon was joking and said, "You never know! Sometimes it's the quiet ones that stay to themselves that's doing things you'd never imagine." We were joking around about a particular neighbor who fit those qualifications. But I commented that I'm sure we didn't have any need to worry, because his parents were over at his house checking on things too often. We were not serious and were completely joking about this! But the very next day I came home from babysitting my great-nephew, and there sat the K-9 unit police car in the driveway of the very house we had joked around about. The guy wasn't home, and the officer soon left; and I haven't seen him back. Who knows; he is probably friends with our neighbor and was just stopping in to say, "Hi." But that was so ironic that this would happen the very next day after Jon and I joked around about it!
A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart. Proverbs 18:2
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We love you!
Loretta & Jon