We believe what we choose to believe. No one can force us into believing anything. We are not always convinced by facts either. Believing something is a choice. For people of faith, believing in God is a choice. For those who do not believe in God, that is also a choice. There are times we choose to believe or not believe and the consequences are minimal. There are other times, however, when we choose to ignore things that can cause us great harm.
Why do we choose to ignore important things that eventually extract great costs in our lives? All of us have been guilty at some point of ignoring something that we would later come to realize even though everyone else could see it but us. We thought we were the exception to the rule or that the person who was trying to convince us otherwise was just wrong. There are many reasons why we ignore certain truths. Here are three that I think are the most common.
Some Things Are Painful
There are some things we believe will cause us great pain if we admit that they are true. I see this most often in relationships. A person falls in love with another person but that person is not healthy for them. They may be abusive or they may influence them to do things they would not normally do. Parents and close friends will often point out some of those misgivings but love has blinded that person from being able to believe the truth. Eventually, that relationship progresses and it becomes more clear that this was a bad choice but their fear of the pain of losing the relationship causes them to continue. They deal with the pain they have in order to keep from dealing with the unknown pain of a breakup. Choosing to believe the wrong thing always brings pain. Sometimes we prefer a pain we know over a pain we don’t.
Things We Want To Do
There are things we want to do and we do not care that it is a bad choice. Since I previously talked about relationships, this certainly applies to those as well. I recall some personal relationships that I just wanted and it did not matter the consequences. There are times we know that something is going to be harmful to us but we choose to do it anyway. We want that car so we go into debt even though there is plenty of evidence that it is a bad idea given our current situation. We may have even had terrible experiences with debt previously and have experienced the Proverb that tells us that the debtor is a slave to the lender. But our wants override our reason and we go headfirst anyway. The thing we want to do overcomes the truth we need to believe.
Things We Believe Will Cost Us
There are times we have placed a high cost on belief. Over my life, this has been a popular excuse for people who did not want to follow Christ. They felt like following Christ would cost them too much. To be honest, there were times the church puts unnecessary costs on becoming a disciple of Jesus. They expected things that Jesus would never have expected and people just do not want to give up certain things. Following Christ does have a cost. Sometimes people feel that the cost is too high. There are things they prefer not to change. Things they do not want to give up. Lifestyles they are so accustomed to that they cannot imagine it being any other way. When we think the cost is too high, we just avoid believing, when even in the long run it may cost us everything for not believing. There is a price to pay for believing or not believing. Do not fool yourself into thinking that only one side has a cost.
So what truth are you ignoring today? Have you avoided certain choices or ignored things because of one of these reasons? There are consequences when we ignore the truth. I do not know what they will be for you. But usually believing the right thing is not as difficult as you have made yourself believe.