Let’s Pretend We Know What We’re Talking About – As Seen in a Commercial

blog10-23In life we don’t always have answers. There are just times when the best answer is, “I don’t know.” This is especially the case with the deeper mysteries of life such as the problem of evil, the “why” of suffering, and the reason why things sometimes don’t make sense.

As a younger priest I felt a lot of pressure to “have the answers” when tragedies occurred or when people experienced persistent setbacks in their lives. In more recent years I’ve learned to say less and to be more willing to sit quietly with people in their pain. To be sure, we have some answers, but explanations are poor substitutes for understanding and acceptance. Whatever explanations I can offer still leave even more things unexplained.

In life we sometimes must make decisions even though we don’t have all the information we’d like. Sometimes we simply have to guess at what’s best. At other times we have information and lots of (often-conflicting) advice, yet still remain uncertain as to what to do. We have to decide to trust God, remaining humbly open to His providence.

All of this is hard for us, especially these days, because we’ve cultivated such a high sense of being in control. But control, in anything but a limited sense, is an illusion. While you may have plans for tomorrow, tomorrow isn’t promised; you’re not even guaranteed the next beat of your heart. Your control of little things is based on myriad other things you can’t control.

Enjoy the video below, which humorously reminds us that we aren’t always certain what the best answer is even when the whole world is waiting for us to decide. Sometimes the best we can do is to decide and then accept the consequences of that decision. Hypocrisy—in this case pretending that the decision is all wise and fully informed—has a way of bringing scorn upon us that is far worse that what simple humility offers. Sometimes it’s OK to say, “I’m not sure,” or to accept that our decisions may be flawed.

Divine revelation is certain, but human decisions are flawed and uncertain.

2 Replies to “Let’s Pretend We Know What We’re Talking About – As Seen in a Commercial”

  1. I have found that sometimes, even when I know the answer, the person hearing it just isn’t ready to understand. For instance, telling a young couple that getting married at 18 is probably a bad idea, or telling a person who has just lost their spouse in a tragic way, “It’s God’s will.” is hurtful, not helpful. Sure, anyone over 40 knows 18 year olds staying married for the rest of their lives is a long shot, to say the least. Saying a death is “God’s will” even though I see the absolute truth of that, does not help someone who doesn’t live as if God is in control of everything. When someone wants to know why we suffer, when I wanted to know why we suffer, I could not have understood the answer. I understand it better now, but the words that explain sound blunt and harsh to those who haven’t suffered much.
    And so, at times, the only thing we can do is listen with a merciful heart, and pray for the one who looks for answers.

  2. Yup, funny, disgraceful and controversial in any which side you see it. Yup, we do act, we think, like it is the most intelligent thing we’ve ever done good but without really consulting (double checking) facts, without checking up the truth we’re just plain stupid. I am glad when I did stupid things I have recourse to ask GOD for forgiveness and HE does forgive. Only problem is when the ignorant pride tries to justify the stupidity that is when it becomes disgraceful. When I see it after a while the controversy even become worse when I don’t admit it. But when admitted and confessed and remorseful, in retrospect the stupidity indeed is laughable and funny. Thank you GOD for giving me some leeway, time and space to admit to my stupidity and be forgiven and be able to laugh at it and sometimes be given a second chance. YHWH ROPHE!

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