In March of 1994 a German tourist checked into a hotel near Miami International Airport. That night in his room he noticed a foul odor. But travelers must put up with discomforts, so he slept in the bed that night without a complaint to the front desk.
The next morning when he awoke, the odor was only worse. So as he checked out of the hotel, he reported the problem. On Friday, March 11, a maid cleaning the room discovered the source of the odor. Under the bed she found a corpse. (Contemporary Illustrations)
This account illustrates the opposite of the saying, “Ignorance is bliss.” Ignoring the odor did not make the problem go away. The smell only got worse. And it didn’t change the fact that a corpse was under the bed, either.
There are certain things we cannot ignore even when we think they will go away. It does us no good to be like the proverbial ostrich with his head buried in the sand believing that we don’t have a problem when we really do have a problem. It’s akin to the idea that what you don’t know won’t hurt you. This is like walking on thin ice and falling through into the chilling water because you ignored the signs warning you of the danger.
The problem with ignorance is that if we ignore it then we remain ignorant. Instead, we must deal with it by not ignoring it any longer. It starts with how we think.
The Apostle Paul commented on the way worldly persons think: “… in the futility of their thinking,” (Ephesians 4:17, New International Version, NIV). He explains, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed,” (NIV).
Ignoring what is right and wrong gives way to sin. Like they say, “Sin is mothered by ignorance.” And I am afraid that ignorance breeds many children who have hardened their hearts by living apart from the life God through Christ teaches us to live.
Paul urges Christians to not be like the world. Instead of ignoring the teachings of truth in Christ he says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness,” (Eph. 4:22-24, NIV).
Paul made this appeal to his fellow believers because he, himself, once lived in ignorance and was blind to the Lord and his salvation. But, ironically, when Jesus opened his eyes by literally blinding him on the road to Damascus, Paul was no longer ignorant of the truth. His own testimony before King Agrippa reveals how his life was changed because he saw the light concerning Jesus and the hope he gives: Acts 26:1-32.
Since the time of his conversion, the apostle’s calling was to shed the light of Christ toward those living in the darkness of their own superstition and ignorance. When he spoke to the philosophers and other “enlightened” thinkers of his day, the Bible says, “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, ‘You men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore you ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you,'” (Acts 17:22-23, King James Version, KJV). Paul apparently believed that the darkest ignorance is man’s ignorance of God.
Paul then proceeded to teach the truth about the one true God, creator and sustainer of all life, and the fact that he gave his Son who died and was raised from the dead. He told them, “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead,” (vss. 29-31).
Many of them mocked Paul’s message, especially the part about the resurrection of the dead. They chose to remain ignorant of the gospel truth. Others, on the other hand, were willing to hear more about what he had to say: “And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, ‘We will hear you again of this matter,'” (v. 32). As it turned out, a few did confront their ignorance, accepted the truth and converted to Christ (v. 34).
You can’t ignore ignorance if you are seeking the truth. Unlike the traveler, there is an odor that you can’t afford to ignore especially when it comes to the stench of sin. For right under our noses lies the truth if we’re willing to look for it instead of ignoring it. The times of ignorance cannot be ignored since Jesus was born to save us and all are called to repent in preparation for the “appointed time” of his return.
Here is Hillsong with “Open My Eyes”: http://youtu.be/Uku6V5oyWSc
Good News to YOU!