Being good is, well, good. But uninformed goodness may be dangerous.
A young mother was sick at home with her four-year-old daughter. Wanting to help, the girl brought magazines to her mom, fluffed the pillows for her, and even made her a cup of tea!
Her mother was very surprised by the tea and asked how her daughter had learned to make it by herself. The girl proudly replied, "Well mommy, I've seen you do it lots. Only I couldn't find the strainer thing, so I used the fly swatter instead."
"YOU WHAT!" her mother cried.
"It’s OK. I didn't use the new fly swatter, I used the old one."
Would you agree this was a good girl? She had the best of intentions. She meant to do good and she wanted to make her mother happy. What she lacked was not goodness, but knowledge.
Similar misguided goodness comes from adults, too. That’s why the apostle Peter insisted that Christians “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge” (2 Peter 1:5.)
Good intentions are certainly better than bad intentions, but they don’t always produce good results. Tea filtered through a used fly swatter is not a good product.
Religious folk need enthusiasm. But we also need knowledge. “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge,” we are told in Proverbs 19:2. That was also the complaint Paul lodged against his countrymen. They were devout, and, presumably, sincere. But they rejected Jesus. “They are zealous for God,” Paul wrote, “but their zeal is not based on knowledge” (Romans 10:2).
How do we avoid a similar mistake? Simple. Acquire knowledge. And Peter makes it clear what kind of knowledge it is that we must add. It’s “the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” to which Peter points us (2 Peter 1:2). We need to know the “words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles” (2 Peter 3:2).
Do you know more about your career than about your Creator? Do you have more knowledge about this morning’s news than about the good news of Jesus?
Researchers have demonstrated that Bible reading and Bible knowledge are declining in America. The result? Good people with too little knowledge. Let’s have good intentions to reverse that trend – and let’s begin adding knowledge to our intentions.