Extraordinarily thoughtful Vineyard pastor and blogger Ken Wilson from Ann Arbor, Michigan, tells young pastors that certainty can make good, kind, warm-hearted people, blind.
Certainty can make you pooh-pooh Jesus words, "Treat other people the way you want to be treated." Wilson says love of certainty is not the same as love of truth. It's just love of certainty.
I am a human. I love certainty, even though I rarely get it.
I want my doubts erased. Why? Because uncertainty leaves me vulnerable. Who wants to be vulnerable?
Wilson says it like this:
But the truth is a person. And we must always remain vulnerable to another person to whom we wish to be related. We cannot be in charge, because each person is inviolable. Especially God.
We know, but we know in part. All of our knowledge is partial, because we are partial, and we are the knowers doing the knowing. We are the defective ones, not the truth. And so our grasp on the truth is always a semi-faulty one.
The older I get the fewer things I am certain about. My circle of certainty gets smaller, exponentially smaller year by year. I wish, when I was 25, I had read what Wilson says below. He gets it. I am totally certain of that …
To pursue the truth requires one thing of us and one thing only: humility. We must be humble, about ourselves and our knowing capacities. We know, thank God, but we know in part. The fruit that our ancestors ate–the fruit from that forbidden tree–is still working its way through our system.
Our certainty does not guarantee our knowing.
The truth guarantees himself and we hobble along behind him, crying out not to be left behind.
So take a look at yourself in the mirror each morning young pastor and remind yourself of what you know to be true of everyone else: on your best day, you’re wrong about twenty-percent of the time. You just don’t know which twenty-percent. Be certain of that, and it will free you to love the truth more than your certainty.
Whew … that's good preaching, Mr. Wilson!