Seldom Right, Always Confident

"Spiritual maturity is moving from confident arrogance to thoughtful uncertainty." Why is it that those who least understand truth peddle their teachings with confident and demanding assertions, and while those who more clearly understand truth share with greater gentleness? Beginning with a follow-up email from someone who has been living through some of what Wayne shared in last week's podcast on Walking in Death's Shadow, it opens up some thoughts about Christians who are seldom right about the things they want others to know, but they are always confident that they are right. Wayne unpacks the diagram at left (click on image or here for a larger view), to help understand how we process life, and why those who are most coming to grips with what's true will also demonstrate a gentle and open heart in making it available to others.

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  1. The more that I understand how much I don’t know, the more humbling it is to my soul and the more awesome and gigantic our Lord seams to me. How comforting to know that I don’t have to know it all, and that I can’t anyway. He knows, and I can settle into that. Paul said that, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Gal 6:14 The ONE thing we should exercise ourselves to KNOW is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, for it is; the center of the Gospel, the proof of God’s love to us, the ONLY way we become reconciled to the Father, the thing that all of man’s religion hates and fights against for our pride does not want us to admit that we can’t pull ourselves up to heaven somehow by some of our own means (works), the demarcation of man’s failing works on one side and God’s gift of eternal life on the other side, the death of our flesh and the beginning of life, the washing away of our sin under the blood of the Son of God in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily, the renewing (giving life) of the Holy Spirit, the fountainhead of every good and perfect gift that cometh down from the Father above including the gift of the faith of the Son of God whereby we are able to even begin to believe unto salvation.

    I have spent the past 13 years in daily pain and suffering and this has been, in many ways, a blessing. I hope there has been a deflating of my pride and an increase of humility – I believe so, anyway. God has walked with me through this in many tangible ways, and has truly become my Friend.

  2. Thank you Wayne for another eye-opening pod cast. After pondering a bit, I went on a quest for the related Richard Rohr quote from a few years ago:

    “Ignorance does not result from what we don’t know! Ignorance results from what we think we do know—but don’t! Most ignorant people are, in fact, quite certain.

    From (The Certainty of Ignorance) 1-15-2010 Podcast

    What a hoot to LOL along with you and Brad as I revisited that memorable message.
    And what a shocker to realize I’m still learning to be OK with uncertainty

    Gratefully shocked,

  3. I spent time yesterday and today talking to individuals who have been hurt by those who “think they know, and are bullies as a result, but don’t know.” So much pain is cause by such ignorant good intention. You said the word expert a couple of times which reminded me for a definition I have used at various times since I am a retired mathematics teacher. Expert: x is an unknown quantity and spurt is is just a drip under pressure. I have grown in understanding and relationship with Abba far beyond my imagination during the last couple years. Recently God has been placing more and more individuals in my path that are on the same journey. Thank you for your part.

  4. great podcast…I have not taken just a few steps, but several steps toward my healing..I especially liked the quote about the “larger, harder discussion” over the reality that what we confidently, if not arrogantly believed would happen does not take place….great stuff…I also liked “people who are most certain of truth have the least of it”…..wonderful….and finally, the “thoughtful uncertainty” is a beautiful way to live…..I don’t think God killed my wife because we didn’t have enough faith, because of sin, or because we didn’t pray enough….why did it happen?….thoughtful uncertainty….with joy in the journey and the expectation of an ultimate fulfillment in eternity, with or without an answer…maybe I will get there and ask the question and everyone will laugh, and I will laugh with them and forget why I wanted to know…anyway…thanks…dougb

  5. Wayne, Thanks for developing this topic more. One of the most freeing things about looking at our life as a journey with God is I don’t have to have everything figured out today or even tomorrow. Over the past couple of years I’ve been questioning nearly everything I’ve thought to be true and letting the wind of the Holy Spirit blow the chaff away and keeping the kernels of truth.

  6. Loved The podcast !
    So true about us knowing so little of what there is to know! Man that is me! So glad I can rely on His Wisdom! The biggest discovery I can finally say with the most certainty is, He Loves Me ! But there seems to be no end to learning how much and how deep! And how excepting this, is costantly changing everything I thought I knew!! Thanks again Wayne for more insights .

  7. Thank you, Wayne, for another great podcast. Also, thanks to Doug for sharing his thoughts, experiences and hurts through this recent great sorrow. The phrase, ‘seldom right, always certain,’ depicts an attitude that goes way beyond the confines of spiritual themes. I was reminded of my time in medical school 30 years ago. One of the few quotes I remember from all the lectures I attended was something like this: “Just remember that about half of what we teach you in medical school is incorrect. We just don’t know, yet, which half.” As a community, I don’t think traditional medicine tends to live in the humble place of thoughtful uncertainty. Much to ponder. Thanks again.

  8. Really important stuff to highlight. Thanks Wayne for this important contribution to the much beneficial asset we know as humility.

    I was reminded of Oswald Chamber’s suggestion (as relates to the knowing of God and as relates to the journey many of us seem to be on) and that is that perhaps what is most important and significant are the things we need to unlearn as opposed to things we need to learn.

    Of course this is related to understanding and experiencing the knowing of God over the knowing about God.

  9. “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know.”

    Donald Rumsefld

  10. Love the quote: “People who are on a journey of greater spiritual wholeness are not less certain about who God is ( they may be more certain about who He is), but they’re less certain about what hoops you need to jump through to find that reality”

  11. This is like a kiss on the cheek, music to my ears and settling in my spirit. I have always thought that those who seem to be quietly and gently guiding others to Jesus and at the same time seeming to be carefully humble about their own walk and admitting they do not know all the answers, somehow made me feel assured as opposed to those that seem to have the answers and bang their drum about it.


  12. Can anyone tell me what they know of the phrase mentioned here “the spoken word”. Our grown son has started a business that uses this phrase frequently in reference to thinking positive thoughts always. I’m not sure how to respond to him when he brings this up. I liked Wayne’s question “Why are we so afraid of owning the moment.”

  13. Thanks, Wayne, for touching on aspects of death and dying. I recently experienced the loss of both of my parents and then a step-parent, and was the primary caretaker in two of the three (palliative care) situations. My parents were my ‘best friends,’ so it has hit me hard. I have found a few helpful resources addressing the topic from a medical-healthcare-hospice-pre/post death grief standpoint, and these have been good, but not actual people who want to talk about the process of dying, what perhaps to expect or the many decisions needed to be made to navigate through it as best as possible, or even talk about the *what we think we know* aspect of what happens to us after we pass … So, again thank you.

  14. Painfully true words. I can identify this reality in countless instances in my own life. Thank you Wayne for keeping it real.

  15. Nancy, I think the spoken word refers to the time when we declared that we didn’t have a cold even though out head ached and our nose streamed. If we stated that we had a cold that showed a lack of faith and we would lose our healing. We believed that there was so much power in the spoken word that we could create just as God spoke things into being. As Wayne said, Jesus only did those things that He saw His Father doing; what made us think that we didn’t need to wait for that still small voice before we acted? In those days I rarely heard His voice. I guess I wasn’t listening.
    However I think there is some truth in the importance of the spoken word. E.g. If we keep saying I’m so stupid I think the devil takes the words and plays them back to us in vulnerable moments.
    Positive people do seem to succeed in business. In christianity I think trust is the important thing. We can choose to trust Jesus or doubt.

  16. Nancy, Did you notice this in the Eden Podcast?
    Mat 15:18-20
    “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.
    For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
    These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
    What do you make of that?

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