Humans have wondered for centuries what purpose ignorance serves in society. Thomas Jefferson once asked, “If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t more people happy?” Although many have asked, few have provided a solid answer. What threat does ignorance pose?
Ignorance is considered a lack of knowledge, but it can also be characterized as a lack of reception or consideration of the ideas of others.
The fruits of ignorance are vast, but, most importantly, it is the gateway to hatred, offensiveness and a lack of compassion, just to name a few. An independent body of people worth noting for its sour fruits is the Westboro Baptist Church, which has caught America’s gaze with its firm, exhortative stance on war, America and homosexuality.
On www.godhatesfags.com, WBC claims to conduct peaceful protests over everything deemed sinful. However, for innocent bystanders who see their ignorant and hateful signs, what are they supposed to think, especially since they claim to follow what the Bible says?
WBC is known especially for their protests at funerals of fallen soldiers and gay pride events. I cannot think of anything more off-putting than praising the death of a soldier or telling other humans created in God’s image, that they are going to hell because their Creator hates them.
What saddens me more is, I have heard things just as hateful from other students. Besides hearing the word “gay” used synonymously with “stupid,” and other remarks I am not comfortable repeating here. While some may find it harmless, ask yourself if this shows God’s love to other people, especially since our society already has negative opinions of Christians.
Other Christians should care about this issue. Think of it from a public relations perspective. When you accept a job with a firm, you agree to represent and fulfill the interests of the company with whom you sign a contract. If your behavior does not match the company’s mission, it reflects negatively on the company.
In the same way, when you accept Christ, you agree to the terms of the contract which state that you are now a representative of God. Whatever you do reflects back on Him. Therefore, how you carry yourself has repercussions on your character.
WBC follows the scripture they want to follow, but it is our duty as representatives to consider everything the Bible says. In Matthew 7:1, Jesus says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” and in Matthew 22:39, He says, “… Love your neighbor as yourself.”
There is a reason Jesus gives us those commandments. Love is not found in criticism, but rather in the unconditional love He showed through his death on the cross. We should then remember to love through our actions to Christians and nonbelievers alike.
That is why I believe The Marin Foundation’s mission to bridge the gap between the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community and the Church is necessary to our society. Each employee is committed to showing Christ’s love to a people with a history of being persecuted, criticized and bullied.
To better understand ignorance and how to deal with it, author Shakti Gawain compared it to a shadow. She said it “has no real substance of its own, it is simply a lack of light. You cannot cause a shadow to disappear by trying to fight it, stamp on it, by railing against it, or any other form of emotional or physical resistance. In order to cause a shadow to disappear, you must shine light on it.”
In order to identify ignorance in your own life, ask God for wisdom in identifying where it exists and deal with it. Also, surround yourself with friends who show unconditional love and ask them to keep you accountable to being open-minded and loving to everyone.
Ultimately, our behavior determines who is receptive to the Gospel. Always remember that your behavior is far more influential than you think.