Certainty…a sin?!? What? But doesn’t the truth have to be defended?
Yes, you read that right. Certainty is a sin when it becomes the most important thing in life. More important than trust in God. Certainty in belief leads us to hold onto our own mental and intellectual abilities and desires rather than what God calls us – to die to self.
Dying to self means we aren’t the ones in ultimate control of our lives.
“Certainty leads to a preoccupation with correct thinking, making sure familiar beliefs are defended and supported at all costs. … It reduces the life of faith to sentry duty, a 24/7 task of pacing the ramparts and scanning the horizon to fend off incorrect thinking, in ourselves and others. … A faith like that is stressful and tedious to maintain. Moving toward different ways of thinking, even just trying it on for a while to see how it fits, is perceived as a compromise to faith, or as giving up on faith altogether. But nothing could be further from the truth. Aligning faith in God and certainty about what we believe and needing to be right in order to maintain a healthy faith — these do not make for a healthy faith in God. In a nutshell, this is the problem. And that is what I mean by the ‘sin of certainty.’ … When we grab hold of ‘correct’ thinking for dear life, when we refuse to let go because we think that doing so means letting go of God, when we dig in our heels and stay firmly planted even when we sense that we need to let go and move on, at that point we are trusting our thoughts rather than God. We have turned away from God’s invitation to trust in order to cling to an idol.” –The Sin of Certainty, pp. 18, 19
(Source: I took the above consolidated quote from Brian Zahnd’s article on certainty. He’s another great author to read too. He saved me a ton of time with the above quote. Thanks Brian!)
Oh so many golden nuggets in this book. Here’s my own assessment of the sin of certainty (not the book, but the actual sin).
Certainty leads to division, war, strife, us vs. them, killing, character assassination, anger, fighting, and so much more.
And no where in the bible did Jesus say, blessed are the certain, for they shall be praised by God for their right belief.
We are called to trust, even when, especially when, it doesn’t make sense. That’s not easy to do. Which is why faith is a gift and why faith goes beyond our intellectual insights and abilities. Of that I’m certain.