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Lenten Devotionals Wednesday, March 22, 2023: Dishonest about Our Knowledge

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

In his poem, “small talk or in my hand galaxies,” Benjamin Naka-Hasebe Kingsley writes:

how often i have mistaken myself

for the seer for the see-er

and others simply as the seen.

We humans often make the mistake of assuming we know-or even know better-than others.  We can be so certain, and yet also so wrong.  Once, a man accosted me verbally after hearing me preach.  He was certain he knew the Bible better than me, and the Bible was clear that a woman should not be in the pulpit.  Another time, I experienced the rush of righteous knowledge as I berated a young conservative student who I understood as wrong in his political views.  Yet, the beginning of wisdom is knowing what we don’t know; knowing that we can only see in a mirror, dimly.

Our knowledge is limited and shaped by the people, places, cultures and beliefs with which we surround ourselves.  Certainty stunts the growth and expansion of our knowledge.  Certainty inspires a kind of divisive arrogance, cutting us off from curious exploration and new discoveries.  To honestly acknowledge all we do9n’t know is to live a life of faithful possibility.

Examine:  In what ways have you been dishonest about your knowledge?  Sit with this dishonesty.  Breathe.  Notice thoughts and feelings that arise.

Imagine:  Imagine yourself before a fogged-up mirror that slowly clears and reveals your image in sharp focus.  How do you see yourself anew as the fog clears?  What comes into focus?  What do you learn from the journey of moving from unclear to clear?

Pray:  Free me from dishonesty, O God, so can live with truth.