Click here to listen to Pastor Hans' sermon, October 29,2017.
Living With False Expectations
Oftentimes we find ourselves looking ignorant because we have trusted misinformation. With very little effort, we pass on untruths which we assume to be accurate. It would amaze us, if we stopped to think about it, how many things that we believe to be true that, in fact, are not true.
It might seem obvious to us when we are asked, "Where was the battle of Bunker Hill fought?" But the seemingly obvious answer is not the right one. The shots heard at that Revolutionary War battle were fired at Breed's Hill, not Bunker Hill. And who said "Elementary my dear Watson?" Certainly not Sherlock Homes, because that quotation is never used in any of Conan Doyle stories. We all carry with us a lot of misinformation.
Perhaps, most of those many pieces of misinformation never do us much harm. but we also carry around many false ideas about life and how we ought to proceed in life which are dangerous or damaging. These illogical and irrational ideas slowly and silently convince us.
Many people believe that we ought to be totally competent in everything that we do. We believe that is part of being an adult. Because of this, we are often reluctant to admit errors. We hate to believe we have vulnerabilities. Worst of all, we torment ourselves when we do not achieve as much as we think we should. It can come to a point where we only see our faults and no strengths at all.
It is irrational to think we can be competent in all our endeavors. The very fact that we have developed some skills means that we have left other skills untended.
Think Beyond The News Headline
There was a time when men and women knew their neighbors when all the people in the little towns knew their neighbors by their first names. There was a time when the news of births and deaths, sickness and good fortune was passed from mouth to mouth, house to house until everyone in the town either reveled in the joys or grieved in sadness.
When the church bells in my little town rang out the news of someone who had passed away, all stopped to ask for whom the bells tolled. People counted the rings which told the age of the departed soul. One ring might have indicated a baby who died in childbirth, a dozen rings could announce the death of a pre-teenager who died in an accident and eighty rings would sadly announce the passing of a revered senior citizen.
That was then and this is now. The brave new world of today is larger and more complex. The newspapers and electronic news have replaced the bell tower. We know more about what happens in our world today, but distance separate us from the emotional effect of tragic events. We sit quietly in our recliners and read the headlines; a short flight away an earthquake has killed hundreds of people, a hurricane has leveled an entire island or an entire city. we watch and see children who are starving or are trying to cling to life as homeless orphans. Then we causally fold the newspaper and take the remote and change the channel of our TV to catch a football game or to see some make-believe actor perform make believe tragedies on make-believe stages.
And as we live on with lots of information but little feeling; so and so is dead but we didn't know him. A town we've never been to has sunk in a sea of mud and a distant nation of people starves to death for lack of bread.