Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Columnists

October 31, 2012

Keith Wishum: In the beginning, I didn't do it

AMERICUS —

I love living in the information age! Almost anything I need to know is just a few clicks (and sometimes a debit card) away. I can read ancient writings, take a visual tour of Holy Land sites, and look up the definition of a Greek word – all from my desk. There are, I’ve read, over 186,000 new books published each year. Most of those, I can download onto an electronic reader that is easily carried in one hand. If the device malfunctions, there are instructions online how to repair it, or I can just order a new one from Amazon.

We have more information and knowledge available to us than ever before in the history of the world. And, I’m delighted about that. But, there is a danger, a deception. It is easy to mistake knowledge for wisdom, information for insight. It’s easy to become arrogant.

When a new patient was settled comfortably on the couch, the psychiatrist began. "Since I don’t know what brings you here," the doctor said, “perhaps you should start at the very beginning."

"Of course," replied the patient, "In the beginning, I created the Heavens and the Earth..."

The doctor –and we – can quickly see the problem. Can we see anything of ourselves in this illustration? Oh, we would never proclaim ourselves to be God. But might we simply forget at times that we are not, that there is one who knows better than we how to direct our lives?

That happens when we think things like, “I know what the Bible says, but . . .” and then proceed to rationalize ignoring the wisdom of the Creator. Or, more subtly, when we think, “I can be Christian without the church” even though the Christ in Christian said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). He thought the church was important enough that he “gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Are we really smarter than he?

Information is wonderful. A smart phone is handy. The internet is invaluable. Knowledge trumps ignorance. But, “Knowledge puffs up,” – swells the ego – while “love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1).  For all of our advanced learning, are we living better lives, being better people?

Perhaps this bit of information will help. Wise people will, “Clothe yourselves with . . . humility” (Colossians 3:12). Humility listens. It seeks good advice. It knows that God is God, and I am not.

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