It’s Okay To Admit That We Don’t Know

5 Jun

“To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.”  ~ Nicolaus Copernicus

Ah, to know.  I have met many self-proclaimed “experts” in my life who, let’s just say, don’t know.  Oh, they may claim that they know.  They may claim that they can do.  But the lack of their knowledge can be frightening.  I have known people who claimed to know electricity almost burn things down because of wiring errors.  I have know people who claimed to know cars who had to have their repair jobs towed to a shop to be put back together.  I have known these and many more.

To know that we know and to know that we don’t know is vital to getting things done right.  To have the humility to admit that we don’t know is just as vital because it prevents us from doing things wrong that could end up damaging and/or dangerous.  I remember once becoming the pastor of a parish.  A few years into my pastorate, the roof of our church began to leak and a lot of the ceiling was damaged from water that had been seeping in unawares throughout the years.

When we went up top to see what was going on, we found out that someone before I had arrived “repaired” leaks in the roof by nailing tar paper to the roof and then dabbing pitch on the nail marks.  When the pitch dried up and pulled away, the water followed the nails into the roof and, voila, damage.  Had the previous guy admitted that he did not know roof work, things would have been done correctly and we wouldn’t have had to spend big money repairing and replacing.

“Instant experts” are very frightening.  To believe that one can do anything can be a recipe for disaster.  This includes our spiritual life.  There are people who think that they are experts in the faith and may even “teach” others things that are wrong.  If we have gaps in our faith lives and knowledge — and many people do as so many of our Catholics only have a grade school religious education at best — we need to admit it and educate ourselves properly so that we could live our faith more completely.

FAITH ACTION:  If there are things about the faith that you do not know, admit it and seek help from some source book or person to educate yourself appropriately.