It has happened again. I saw a pregnant woman smoking and I immediately wanted to tear it from her hand and say, “How dare you harm the life of your baby!” I couldn’t believe that someone could be either that callous or that ignorant. Surely she watches television and sees the ads. Or does she think she is especially immune? I refrained from doing or saying anything. First off, I didn’t want to be arrested for accosting her and secondly she would never listen to a total stranger. But my feelings toward her were very unfriendly.
After getting back in my car and heading home I remembered Hebrews 5:2. “He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.” I sometimes think I am becoming less patient as I grow older. I’m becoming a grumpy old man. I have to remind myself of how ignorant I am of so many things. I’m sure I do things that make Jesus want to accost me and say, “Don’t be so stupid. I told you not to do that.”
Matthew 9:36 is a wonderful verse. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” All of us are ignorant. It is just a matter of degrees. (No pun intended.) Jesus has very carefully given us instructions for how to care for ourselves and others. Those instructions are called the Ten Commandments. So often we think of them as regulations for heavenly acceptance and forget their real purpose was to deal with our ignorance. Isn’t it amazing that God had to tell us not to steal? Surely we could have figured that out on our own. Alas. Ignorance abounds.