I was asked to substitute yesterday for a class in an online Intermediate School. It was refreshing to interact with young people who were truly interested in the subject matter, and who expressed a sincere desire to learn and grow.
As part of the class, we read a quote by Mark Twain:
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble – it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
It made me smile, and then it reminded me that so very often I’m CERTAIN I’m right….until I find out I was wrong.
I can function for quite awhile on false premises, and it’s pretty humbling when I realize, finally, that what I thought was true – wasn’t.
I’ve found two antidotes for that tendency. The first is to keep the conduit between God and me as open as possible. When I’m regularly reading His word, praying, and taking time to ponder, I feel that closeness, and it helps me recognize falsehood and truth more easily.
The second antidote is to keep learning. I admit that the more I read, study, and attend classes, it’s a little daunting because then I realize more clearly how little I know and how much more I need to learn. However, continual learning lifts my spirits, and the more truth I learn the less time I spend living a life based on things that “just ain’t so.”
Proverbs 1:5 states it this way:
“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning…”
As I see it, it really IS what we don’t know that gets us into trouble – and I think that’s really what Mark Twain was helping us understand.