Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. Ephesians 4:17-18
Ignorance can be a terrible thing. That's because ignorant people do stupid things.
Now many of you may not approve of the term, "stupid things." I understand, but I also understand why a Liberian police officer in the 50,000-person slum of Monrovia might say, "This is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen in my life."
His discouraged frustration was brought about when a mob broke into an Ebola quarantine center in Liberia. They chased the patients out and then stole many of the items from the containment facility. Observers said they saw people running away with things like sheets, towels and bedding, which had been stained with blood, vomit and excrement.
That means the disease which has already taken 694 lives in that country has been let loose in a far larger community.
And if you're wondering why people would do such a thing, a number of answers have been given. The most accepted is these people believe Ebola is nothing more than a hoax.
No doubt most of you will join me in feeling sorry for these looters and their families.
Indeed, we should feel almost as sorry for them as we do for those folks who, in ignorance, refuse to be brought to faith in the forgiveness and salvation that has been won for them by the crucified and ever-living Savior.
Two-thousand years ago, God's Son was born into this world to give His life up as a ransom for sinful and condemned humanity. His teachings, His miracles, His sacrifice, along with His resurrection from the dead, prove Jesus was not a hoax. He was the Messiah to whom the prophets had pointed.
Tragically, many people still think the Scriptures, which contain the narrative of our Savior, are fake. They feel they can scoff at the Holy Spirit's invitation to salvation and live out this life, as well as the next, if there is a next life, with impunity.
To paraphrase the Liberian officer: this is one of the saddest things I have ever heard in my life.
Now there isn't much you and I can do for the folks who have exposed themselves to the Ebola virus. On the other hand, there is much that can be done for those sad, sinful souls who have turned their back on the message of salvation.
While there is still time, we can reach out to them; we can preach to them; we can tell them that there is salvation in no one else other than Jesus. We can pray that someday, in some way, the Holy Spirit will touch their hearts and bring them to faith in their Savior and Lord.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, ignorance is a terrible thing. By Your grace and power may the ignorance of the world's doubters be set aside so they may see the life which Jesus died to give them. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
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In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries