“I Do Not Know”

“I do not know.”

During my younger years, I wasn’t wont uttering these words. I fancied myself having an answer to all the questions posed to me. I was not inclined to admitting ignorance or lack of knowledge about topics I was expected to be knowledgeable. I would even sometimes come up with just about anything to say just to avoid being found out ignorant. Not knowing or not having the answer simply made me uncomfortable. How I often wished there was already Google then.

It took me quite sometime to realize that there in no shame in not knowing the answer. That there are some questions in life for which there is simply no answer. That saying “I do not know” or even silence is sometimes the better part of wisdom than spoken words. Then there is the knowledge that comes from intellectual assent. And then there is the wisdom that comes from the affirmation of the heart. I learned that answered questions made me look smart but it was the unanswered ones that made me wise and truly human.

But there were times too that , like the Scribes and Pharisees, I have said “I do not know” to avoid the trouble that may come with telling the truth. I would feigning ignorance to evade taking responsibility for or facing the consequences of the truth.

The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
~ Psalm 19

Jesus and his disciples returned once more to Jerusalem.
As he was walking in the temple area,
the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders
approached him and said to him,
“By what authority are you doing these things?
Or who gave you this authority to do them?”
Jesus said to them, “I shall ask you one question.
Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin? Answer me.”
They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say, ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say,
‘Then why did you not believe him?’
But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?”–
they feared the crowd,
for they all thought John really was a prophet.
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”
Then Jesus said to them,
“Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Mark 11:27-33

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