The Danger of Acting Like You Know When You Don’t

by Jason Wisdom

Person A: Oh man, I love this song!

Person B: Totally. It is a classic. (Has never heard the song before).

Person A: Gosh, I can’t remember who sings it.

Person B: Ahh, me either, but I know who it is. If you hadn’t asked me, I would be able to remember. (Has no idea).

Person A: Aren’t they the ones that sing that other song…oh, how does it go…

Person B: I know the one you are talking about. Yeh, I think that is them. (Still has no clue.)

Person A: Oh yeh, it’s (insert random, obscure band name)!

Person B: That’s right! They are great. (Has never heard of them)

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I can’t be the only person who has been guilty of playing person B in conversations like these. I will confess, (at great potential risk to all of my future conversations), that I have often said “Oh yeah, I know what you are talking about,”  in order to move a conversation along, to avoid awkwardness, and/or to be polite. I think I probably learned this technique very early in life to abbreviate lectures from my parents and/or to keep the teacher from dragging out a lesson in school. Something like that. I am not proud of it. I am actually pretty embarrassed, but I figured that I can’t be the only one, so I want to shine a light on it (sorry if I am blowing your cover). You see, in situations like the one above, there is virtually no danger of being called out. Why not make the other person feel good and say that you know? Why not move the conversation along? No one is being hurt. Right? Well…

It is dangerous to be in the habit of acting like you know something that you don’t. Worse yet, it is unhealthy to cultivate an attitude that requires you to always be in the know. With information at our fingertips nowadays, there is even easier to avoid ever having to say “I don’t know.” You can just look it up. But it goes beyond benign conversations like the one above, ultimately developing into a culture of dishonesty. On top of that, it nurtures a deep sense of insecurity–“What if people see that I don’t know..what if they find me out…what if I don’t know what to say?” Sadly, many Christians have fallen prey to the temptation to do this concerning their own faith…

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