Archive for Empty Glass

Overcoming the World: Part 8–The Struggle

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.  Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  (Ephesians 6:10-12 NRSV)

 

 

Back in Part 6, we discussed how fear can gradually wear us down.  By maintaining a continuous level of inner turmoil, we become less effective at pretty much anything useful.  Some of this mental stress comes from what we actually see and hear, but have you noticed that sometimes that thing that bothered you hours or even days or weeks ago still seems to have some hold over you?

 

Now some folks are better at letting things roll off their backs than others, of course.  This is a process I am still learning myself.  But I am not talking about merely having a good attitude here or learning to relax.  I am talking about nagging thoughts and anxieties that linger to the point where a person can be sitting still in a quiet room with no apparent external stimuli and yet be teetering on the edge of a panic attack or a ragestorm.

 

So what’s going on there?  A psychiatrist might look at a person in such a situation, diagnose a disorder of some sort, and throw a pill at it.  I can personally testify that pills do help somewhat, but like any pill, they treat the symptoms rather than solving the problem.  While I do appreciate being able to face my struggles with a rational sense of calm, rather than a perpetual state of frokeoutedness, the struggle remains.

 

So what is the real struggle?

 

It’s not about comfort or safety or a sense of belonging.  It’s not about politics or world affairs or getting the last word in on social media.

 

We all have a common enemy folks.  His name is Satan, which means “adversary.”  He is not some made-up cartoon figure with horns and a pitchfork to scare little children.  He is real; he doesn’t sleep, and his primary goal is your destruction and mine.

 

He begins his attack with fear, attempting to paralyze you into submission.  If he finds that he can not make you afraid of something or someone, then he will use deception, trying to stir up your basest emotions with things that just aren’t true.  If you won’t buy an outright lie, then he will work on you with subtle half-truths.  But if you are a Truthseeker, always on your guard against such nonsense, then he will move on from deception to distraction.  If he can’t win you over, he can at least keep you from doing good.

 

So why is the devil so effective at carrying out his schemes?  Because most of us are unaware that he is even there.  And that’s just how he likes it.

 

Here is the reality of spiritual warfare.  If you are on one train of thought, and something else intrudes on that thought out of the blue, that is not the random firing of a synapse.  That thought that just popped into your head didn’t just pop into your head.  It was PLACED there.  This doesn’t mean you can’t think for yourself.  That’s what you were doing after all before your thought process was interrupted.  But what will you do NEXT with this new thought?  To answer that, you need to know who introduced it.

 

When Christians talk about receiving a message from God, it is almost never an audible voice.  If it is, many times that is a sign of something else going on that is more mental than spiritual (cue the above psychiatrists).  More often, you will hear people use phrases such as “prompted by” or “led by the Spirit.”  Sometimes this is in direct answer to prayer; sometimes it’s seemingly out of nowhere.  However it happens, you can always tell that the message is from God if it is in line with scripture, illuminates the solution to a problem and leads to a good result for all concerned.

 

Here’s where things get sticky.  Sometimes you might have a thought that solves YOUR problem but creates one for someone else.  Sometimes acting on that thought leads to a result that works in YOUR favor, at least for the short term, but has far-reaching consequences that you don’t even notice.  And of course, if you don’t know Scripture, then you have no way of telling if the message you are receiving is in line with God’s will as revealed in His Word.

 

Even worse, if you’re not aware that this spiritual influence is even happening, you probably think that the idea was your own idea in the first place.  After all, no one spoke it to you out loud.  But remember, you didn’t think it up yourself if you were actively thinking of something else when this new thought “occurred to you.”  Satan’s easiest targets are the people who don’t believe in him.  He has the easiest time influencing people who have no idea that they’re being influenced.

 

However, now that you have read this, you are aware and can no longer claim ignorance.

 

(So what do you do now?  Come back for Part 9—The Armor of God)

 

Overcoming the World: Part 5–As Far as it Depends on You

 

Constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength], contributing to the needs of God’s people, pursuing [the practice of] hospitality.

 Bless those who persecute you [who cause you harm or hardship]; bless and do not curse [them].  Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief].  Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty [conceited, self-important, exclusive], but associate with humble people [those with a realistic self-view].  Do not overestimate yourself.  Never repay anyone evil for evil.  Take thought for what is right and gracious and proper in the sight of everyone.  If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  (Romans 12:12-18 AMP)
Well, the election’s finally over, and as expected, it has stirred up more issues than it has settled.

 

As is usually the case, Truthseekers were at a loss throughout this election, since Truth and politics are generally not found in the same place at the same time.  Some of us voted defensively, some of us searched in vain for a viable third party candidate, and some of us just stayed home.  Now that what’s done is done, we’re all asking ourselves the same question.  “What do we do now?”

 

Well, the answer is the same thing we’ve always done.  Seek Truth in the common ground.  But how do you find common ground in a nation so divided?

 

I covered a lot of this during the last election in the Us and Them series.  However, since it seems to me that strife and discord have been amped up significantly this time around, I would like to focus on the concept of peace and the part we have to play in it.

 

We are called to hate what is evil and cling to what is good.  In a climate such as this, I would suggest that we focus on the clinging to what is good part.  It’s too easy when emotions are running high to go from hating WHAT is evil to projecting that righteous hatred onto people, which is the line we should never cross.  If the news is raising your blood pressure, watch something else.  If your “friends” on social media are stirring the pot with their ignorance, get off Facebook and go put your face in a book.  Better still, put your face in THE Book.  Remember, all evil things will eventually pass away, and the good will remain.  So why expend our energy on things that won’t last?

 

We aren’t supposed to judge people anyway, but we REALLY need to get past this judging people by whom they voted for.  I think most of us can agree that there were no good choices this year, so why should we judge someone else’s choice?

 

That person you’re angry at because he or she voted differently than you and is venting about it on social media—who was that person to you before the election?  Did you respect him or her then?  So why not now?  No one’s inherent worth is diminished by a single ballot.  Remember that.

 

A Truthseeker’s objective is to end arguments, not start them.  It is not our place to try to inject moral superiority into the discussion.  For this reason, I urge patience above all.  Resist the temptation to “correct” people, even if they are obviously wrong.  When people are angry or upset, the lids of their minds are fastened tightly, and you aren’t going to reach them anyway.  Pray for peace and reason to return to our society, and wait patiently for this to pass, because it will.  Dust can’t settle if you stir it up.

 

Look for ways to be kind to people.  The needy are still needy, so don’t forget them.  Let wherever you are be the “safe space” where discussion of politics doesn’t have to happen.  There are so many other things to talk about.

 

Don’t take the bait when some fool on the internet calls you out, directly or collectively, for how you voted and/or the motivations behind your vote.  Justice is God’s job.  If they have it coming to them, they will receive it in their due time.  This is a good opportunity to practice forgiveness.  After all, our sins are forgiven to the degree that we forgive.

 

I don’t really know that there were any “winners” in this election, but there are many who will lose.  I am not suggesting that the criminal element of our society that would riot and destroy and call it a “protest” should be treated with compassion and understanding, but there are many people who stand to lose something dear to them in the upcoming administration.  Be compassionate while they grieve their loss.

 

Make the most of every opportunity to establish common ground with people, preferably face to face.  Listen to their stories.  See people as individuals and not as members of a group.  Come alongside people in their difficulties.  Focus on solutions rather than problems.  Above all, pray first, and listen carefully for an answer, before presuming to dispense wisdom.  When tensions run high, even the most well meaning of advice can be perceived as an attack.

 

And PLEASE avoid the temptation to seek revenge, whether in word or deed.  That is NEVER our job.  It is natural to feel some sense of satisfaction when the times shift in your direction after they have been against you, but it is not our place to rub anyone’s nose in their own misfortune.  You will never earn someone’s respect by spiking the football.  Just hand it to the official and go back to the sideline.  Justice is God’s job, and part of that is righting wrongs.  It will happen in His timing.  Don’t force the issue.

 

Most importantly, it is up to you to make the first move toward peace.  You will have to use your best judgment with each individual you encounter as to whether that means actively extending an olive branch or remaining silent.  Things are going to be ugly for a while.  They may get out of control for a time as well.  You have a choice to make it better or make it worse.

 

You may not be able to single-handedly fix what’s broken in our nation, but how you treat other people is one thing that you CAN control.  So stand firm, pray hard, and keep hoping for the best.  It WILL get better eventually.

 

DN=: Part 9–Brainwashing

Brainwashing (n.)

1: a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas

2: persuasion by propaganda or salesmanship

 (Merriam Webster dictionary)

 

 Listen, dear friends, to God’s truth,
    bend your ears to what I tell you.
I’m chewing on the morsel of a proverb;
    I’ll let you in on the sweet old truths,
Stories we heard from our fathers,
    counsel we learned at our mother’s knee.
We’re not keeping this to ourselves,
    we’re passing it along to the next generation—
God’s fame and fortune,
    the marvelous things he has done.

 He planted a witness in Jacob,
    set his Word firmly in Israel,
Then commanded our parents
    to teach it to their children
So the next generation would know,
    and all the generations to come—
Know the truth and tell the stories
    so their children can trust in God,
Never forget the works of God
    but keep his commands to the letter.
Heaven forbid they should be like their parents,
    bullheaded and bad,
A fickle and faithless bunch
    who never stayed true to God.

(Psalm 78: 1-8 The Message)

 

 

When you see a child who behaves well in public, what is it you always say?  “The public school system sure has made a great citizen out of that boy?”  Or, “Our governmental programs have certainly taught this young lady how to be a good American?”

 

No, you say, “Their parents must have taught them well.”  If the parents are present, you might thank them directly for being such good parents.  Lord knows if the kids AREN’T behaving, it’s the parents you’re going to blame, right?

 

So if it is this obvious that everything a child is and does is shaped by the examples set by his or her parents, then why does our culture get so bent about Christian parents setting a Christian example for their kids?

 

I don’t want to get to deeply into the issue of homeschooling here, because I have no personal experience with it, either as a student or as a parent.  I’m just talking about the natural education every child receives from daily observation.

 

Education, of course, is a good thing.  If we never learned anything, then we wouldn’t know anything (duh).  And common sense, that is, the collective wisdom of all the I told you so’s from all the parents ever, tells us that the primary source of any child’s education is at home.

 

Face it; we’re all home-schooled, no matter what our diplomas say.

 

Our parents have us from day one, when we are completely empty glasses.  From them we learn to walk, talk, eat, pee and poo where we’re supposed to.  Sometimes they even teach us to read, write and count before we start school.

 

Most importantly our parents, and specifically our fathers, are the primary shapers of our value system, our moral compasses, our sense of right and wrong.

 

So is this education or brainwashing?

 

EDUCATION DN= BRAINWASHING

 

Look back up to the top at the dictionary definition of brainwashing.  It’s not just indoctrination, or even FORCED indoctrination; it is forced indoctrination designed to replace one way of thinking with another. 

 

Parents are teachers, not indoctrinators.  They are filling empty glasses.  A child does not yet have a way of thinking or a value system to replace.

 

Therefore nothing, let me say that once more for emphasis, NOTHING that a parent teaches his or her own children can possibly constitute brainwashing.  This includes the passing on of Christian faith, the bedrock upon which the family has been established generation after generation.

 

So if giving your own children a Christian education is akin to pouring the Water of Life into their empty glasses, then by contrast, cultural brainwashing is coercing an educated person of any age to pour out their water, smash their glass, and take a deep drink from this brand new glass of fruit juice.

 

What do you mean it tastes like Kool-Aid?

 

(For an alternate beverage choice, come back for Part 10: Affirmation)

 

Empty Glass: Part 6–Water of Life

 

For the past five posts, I’ve beaten this glass/pitcher/pouring metaphor to death (not to mention the trees and busted faces).  So what am I REALLY talking about here?

 

The world is like a desert, and life makes you thirsty.  We all need refreshment on a regular basis. 

 

What we really need, instead of a pitcher, is something more like a faucet, or perhaps a spring.  Something that can give us water whenever our glass runs empty so that we don’t have to wander in the desert, drinking out of whatever pitcher we find.

 

Fortunately, we do have one of those available to us.  As Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well:

 Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:13-14 NIV) 

 

What is this water of life?  Later, when Jesus was alone with His disciples at the Last Supper, He explained in more detail:

 

If you love me, you will obey what I command.  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.  The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.  But you know Him, for he lives with you and is in you.  (John 14:15-17 NIV)

 

I have written all of this to tell you that, by the grace of God, I have found this spring of living water, the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised to be with us, and in us, until Jesus returns.

 

But the only way that this was possible was for me to take off my lid.  It wasn’t easy.  I have found that the longer the lid stays on, the harder it is to pry off.

 

I was only seven years old when I put the lid on my empty glass.  When I had questioned God’s omnipotence in Sunday school, I was condemned for doubting.

 

So the lid went on.  And on it stayed, through high school, college, and into marriage and fatherhood. 

 

In my mid-20’s, I met some people with pitchers full of living water, and I had a taste, but quickly slapped the lid back on, because by then, it was my habit. 

 

It wasn’t until the age of 33 that I finally had to admit my glass was empty.  My arrogance had destroyed my marriage and shattered my family. 

 

Alone in a church, on my knees, I finally threw my lid away once and for all, and asked God for His living water, the Holy Spirit.  And my life has never been the same. 

 

God has given me a brand new mission.  It is the same one he gives everyone who believes that Jesus was His Son, that he died on the cross as payment for our sins of pride and arrogance and was raised to life again by the power of the very same Holy Spirit that He sends to be a wellspring of life inside of every believer.

 

We are called to educate the ignorant, love the arrogant, and tolerate the stupid (leaving room for God’s wrath, of course).  We have been given the Holy Spirit, the water of life, not to keep Him to ourselves, but to pour out for the whole world.  It is not by accident that Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.” (Mark 9:41 NIV)

 

 

If you’ve stayed with me this far, your lid is definitely off.  Not only that, but you’ve got yourself a brand new pitcher.  Why not try giving it a pour?

 

 

But watch out for those lids!

           

Empty Glass: Part 5–Pouring Out

 

 

As Truthseekers, our main responsibilities are to keep our lids off, keep our eyes open for the good sources with the good pitchers, dump out the bad water and point out the bad sources when we find them.  However, we have another responsibility too. 

 

A glass can only hold so much.  Once your glass is full, you can’t put any more into it until you pour some out. 

 

 It is the obligation of the educated to educate.  If you think about it, you really don’t have an option.  If you don’t pour out, you can’t fill up. 

 

The only other thing to do would be to put a lid on your glass.  As we have already discussed, no water gets in or out if you do that.  The arrogant can not learn, but they ALSO can not educate! 

 

You can’t hold onto your knowledge and share it at the same time.  Although the teacher is superior to the student, remember that if true education is taking place, the student will become equal to the teacher.  If the teacher holds out on the student to maintain superiority, the education is incomplete.  Worse, the student with the half-full glass might think that they are educated, become prideful, then slap on a lid of his own, thus perpetuating arrogance rather than knowledge.

 

For this reason, we MUST pour out.  Our obligation to pour, however, is matched by our obligation to discern. 

 

In other words, it’s our job to watch for the lids. 

 

If we try to pour into a glass that has a lid on it, the resulting mess is OUR fault.  We have the pitchers of knowledge; therefore, WE are the ones who should know better. 

 

Here are some tips in the pouring-out process:

 

·         If someone states something as fact, and you know for a fact that it is NOT a fact, this is a sign of ignorance.  Your obligation is to educate the ignorant person in a way that builds him up rather than putting him down, so that all who hear you will be edified and will benefit.

·         If the person rejects your education by arguing their original point, which you already know to be false, that’s the lid.  At this point, your obligation is to BACK OFF!  A Truthseeker must never argue.  Remember that Truth is the common ground at the end of the argument.  Remember also that arrogance can not be overcome by logic, since it is rooted in emotion (specifically, pride).  In this situation, your emphasis should be on building a relationship with this person rather than building your case against him.  In time, if a trust is built, the lid will come off, and you can proceed with education at that point, when your new friend is open to having his glass filled.

·         On the other hand, if the other person rejects your education by doing one or more of the following:

 

1.      Repeating back what you just said preceded by the words “it is not. . .”  (e.g. You say, “it is a guarantee that you will bust your face if you walk into that tree,” and they respond, “it is not a guarantee,” etc.)

2.      Shouting back a sentence at you that begins with the words “YOU JUST WANNA” and ends with something that bears no resemblance to your actual intent.  (e. g. “You just wanna take away our freedom of choice about where to walk.”  Or better yet, “You PEOPLE just wanna. . .”)

3.      Saying something completely incoherent in a condescending tone, frequently followed by a smirk and/or an arm fold (e.g. “Now really, you don’t actually want to be master of the trees do you?”  Smirk, then fold arms as if the argument were already won.)

4.      Going off topic completely with a series of questions beginning with “What about. . .” and ending with something that has absolutely nothing to do with the subject being discussed.  (e. g.  “What about Mohammed?  What about Darfur?  What about the all the other trees in the world?”)

 

These are the people that we have identified as being stupid.  Put down the pitcher, and slowly back away.

(To be concluded in Part 6–Water of Life)

 

Empty Glass: Part 4–Stupid

 

There is a state that is worse still than arrogance. 

 

At least the arrogant man has had a taste of knowledge at some point.  There are those who have never taken the lid off their empty glasses at all.  These people are utterly devoid of knowledge and not in the least interested in obtaining any.  As such, they are not worthy of such an elegant-sounding title as “ignorant” or “arrogant.”  Let us therefore simply call them “stupid.”

 

The stupid person will walk into the tree EVERY time.  You can use logic to tell him not to.  You can show him the line of people with unbusted faces.  You can give him a self-help book called “Build a Better Life by Not Walking into Trees.”  You can slap him purple and scream into his face, “DON’T WALK INTO THE TREE, YOU IDIOT!  YOU’RE GOING TO BUST YOUR FACE!!!” 

 

And he will walk into the tree.  Every….stinking…time.

 

No matter how good the logic in your pitcher is, ain’t nuthin’ getting’ in that glass.  The lid’s on, and it’s not coming off.  If you try to pour knowledge or wisdom into that glass, not only will you not achieve your goal, you’re going to make a mess in the process.  You might have better luck trying to teach a cow to juggle eggs. 

 

It really is true that you can’t fix stupid.  Even God can’t fix stupid, as Paul wrote:

 

So this I say and solemnly testify in [the name of] the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the heathen(the Gentiles)do in their perverseness—in the folly, vanity and emptiness of their souls and the futility—of their minds.  Their moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is beclouded. [They are] alienated (estranged, self-banished)from the life of God—with no share in it.  [This is] because of the ignorance—the want of knowledge and perception, the willful blindness—that is deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart (to the insensitiveness of their moral nature).  Ephesians 4:17-18 Amplified

           

I also like how these verses are paraphrased in The Message:

 

And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd.  They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself.  They can’t think straight anymore.

 

See, here’s the thing about lids.  You can’t remove someone else’s; you can only remove your own. 

 

Too often, educated people try to use logic with stupid people and then they wonder why the stupid person doesn’t say, “Gee, I never thought of it that way.  I guess I will walk around the tree!” 

 

Walking around the tree is a choice you have to make for yourself.  You can’t make someone else walk around the tree. 

 

The reason you can’t remove a lid with logic and reason is that logic and reason didn’t put the lid there in the first place.  Pride is the clamp that holds the lid on a glass that isn’t full.  Pride is what makes you think your knowledge is better, and pride is what keeps you from getting any smarter than you are right now.

 

Only humility can remove the lid.  The only way you can position yourself to fill your own glass is to take off your own lid. 

 

(Taking the lid off is only the start. Come back for Part 5–Pouring Out.)

 

Empty Glass: Part 3–Arrogance

 

 

Remember that common sense is just collective wisdom.  Collective wisdom, in turn, is a bunch of people that have had the same wisdom poured from the same pitcher INDIVIDUALLY into their empty glasses. 

 

Only some people don’t receive the wisdom.  This is because their glass has a lid on it.  The lid is called arrogance.

 

Arrogance usually comes about in this way.  A person with an empty glass gets their first sample pour from a good pitcher.  They taste and see that it is good.  Then the person with the pitcher offers to fill their glass.  Instead of accepting, however, the arrogant person says, “No, I’m good,” and slaps a lid on their half-full glass. 

 

They could have acquired more knowledge, but they shut themselves off.  Instead, they zealously protect the incomplete knowledge they do have as if to say, “My water is better than YOUR water.” 

 

If you did this with an actual glass of water, two things would eventually happen.  First, over time, the water in your glass would get stale.  Second, with the lid on your glass, you can’t even drink the stale water that you have.  So you get thirsty again.  Even worse, you can’t get any fresh water with the lid on your glass either.

 

In the same way, clinging desperately to incomplete knowledge makes your mind go stagnant. 

 

Face it—the world is going to progress whether you do or not.  For this reason, if your knowledge is at a standstill, it is actually going backward.  If there ever was a time when the arrogant person DID have superior knowledge, it doesn’t stay that way for long.

 

Worse still, the arrogant person is incapable of obtaining any new knowledge to supplant the old as long as he has the lid clamped down on the glass of his mind.  So the arrogant person becomes as thirsty as he was when he was ignorant. 

 

The key difference, however, is that the ignorant person knows that he is thirsty, will seek out a new pitcher, and is prepared to RECEIVE.  The arrogant person, on the other hand, refuses to admit his thirst, refuses to remove the lid, which is keeping his old knowledge contained, and is therefore unable to receive.

 

As such, the state of the arrogant man becomes worse than the state of the ignorant man.

 

(It gets worse.  Come back for Part 4–Stupid.)

 

Empty Glass: Part 2–Experience

Ever drink a tall glass of cold milk on a really hot day?  It feels good going down, but do you notice that you get thirstier faster afterwards?  Some drinks meet your needs better in some situations.  

 

Sometimes, we meet people with pitchers that are more than happy to share the knowledge they have.  But sometimes we find out that what they have poured us doesn’t taste so good.  Maybe it’s a couple days past the expiration date.  Maybe it’s even poison that will make us sick. 

 

We all encounter people that will tell us things that are not beneficial.  If we do not know any better, we will act on this false knowledge and suffer the consequences.  This process of learning from our own mistakes is called “experience.”

 

Experience is one of those things that is good to have but sucks to get, on account of there is frequently pain involved, be it physical or emotional. 

 

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone else could get the experience, fill up a pitcher with that and then pour us a glass of what they learned so we don’t have to make the mistakes they already made?  Well, that does happen, though  perhaps not nearly as often as it should.

 

If learning from your own mistakes is “experience,” then learning from someone else’s is “wisdom.”

 

Wisdom is far superior to experience, because there is no progress without wisdom.  Without wisdom, mankind would be caught in an endless loop of making the same mistakes and not learning anything from them.             

 

Imagine a line of people walking toward a tree.  The first person walks into the tree and busts his face.  If experience were superior to wisdom, then each person in the line would have not only an opportunity but a duty to take his own turn walking into the tree and busting his face.

 

Wisdom, on the other hand, lets the second person in line say, “I don’t really want to bust my face.  I think I’ll walk around the tree.” 

 

Accordingly, the third person in line, who has observed one person busting his face and one not busting his face, is able to conclude logically that not having a busted face is the preferable option.  Furthermore, he can also conclude that the logical route to the desired result of the unbusted face is completed through the conscious action of walking around the tree. 

 

Therefore, the third person also walks around the tree, and the rest of the line follows.  Thus, wisdom is passed on to posterity and becomes “common sense.

 

Likewise, in life, if an ignorant person seeks out “knowledge” that leads to a bad result in his life, common sense dictates that those who follow after would do well to seek another source of knowledge.  After all, bad knowledge can not come from a good source (or vice versa).  If the knowledge proves false, then so is the source of the knowledge.

 

Common sense  calls out the bad source for what it is and advises not going back to that source for knowledge.  Common sense has been brought to fruition when NOBODY goes back to that source for knowledge.

 

But that isn’t the way it works in real life, is it?  Nope, no matter how many have followed the common sense example of the second person and walked around the tree, there’s always some ignoramus who insists on getting out of line and walking into the tree

(Why does this happen?  Find out in Part 3–Arrogance)

 

Empty Glass: Part 1–Ignorance

As a writer, naturally I deal with words on a regular basis.  As such, I tend to analyze words more closely than the average person does.  A pet peeve that I share with many writers is when words are commonly misunderstood and subsequently misused.

 

 The misused word that’s bugging me more than any other these days is “ignorant.” 

 

The rampant misuse of this word generally occurs within the realm of opinions, as in, “You do not agree with my opinion; ergo, you are ignorant.” (See “Entitled to Our Own Opinion?” for more on this topic.)

 

The word “ignorant” is derived from the Latin ignorare, meaning, “not to know.”  Ignorance is a lack of knowledge; therefore, an ignorant person is someone in the state of being where knowledge, instruction, training, etc. is not present or has not occurred.

 

Since ignorance is a lack of knowledge, we may liken it to an empty glass.  There’s nothing flawed in the glass itself; it just doesn’t have any water in it.

 

So an ignorant person is the one carrying the empty glass.  There is nothing wrong with this person’s mind; they simply do not know what they do not know.  The one thing they do know, however, is that their glass is empty, and they are thirsty.  As a wanderer in the desert is thirsty for water, an ignorant person thirsts for knowledge and Truth. 

 

Now when you’re thirsty, what do you do?  You get a glass and either go to the sink or the refrigerator and get a drink.  You know where to go to get what you are lacking.

 

It’s different when you’re dealing with a thirst for knowledge though.  The more ignorant you are, the more you don’t know what you don’t know.  You know that you need knowledge, but you may not know where to find it.  Life’s not as simple as getting the pitcher out of the fridge and pouring yourself a glass of water.

 

No, in life, someone else is holding the pitcher.  If the empty glass represents ignorance, then the pitcher represents knowledge.

 

Ignorance is solved by the person with the empty glass finding the person with the pitcher and asking them to pour into their glass.  This is the process known as education.

 

When pouring water out of a literal pitcher, the pitcher gets emptier as the glass gets fuller.  With the pitcher of knowledge, however, the pitcher loses nothing by pouring out.  Not only is ignorance overcome by education, but the educated person (no longer ignorant) has now become equal to the educator with the pitcher, at least in regards to the specific knowledge that was shared.

 

There is a catch to this education process, however.  If you were getting yourself a drink out of the fridge, you know what you are pouring yourself—water, juice, milk, soda, etc.  You can see what is in the containers, or at least you can read the labels.

 

The pitcher of knowledge is trickier though.  Because you don’t know what you don’t know when you are truly ignorant, you also don’t know what’s in the pitcher.  You know you are thirsty, your glass is empty, someone is offering you a drink, so you accept. 

However, due to your ignorance, you don’t have any sure way of knowing if what’s in the pitcher is good for you or not.  You may end up getting an education you hadn’t bargained for.

 

(To be expounded upon in Part 2–Experience)