March 8, 2020: (un)Packing for the Journey: What (We Think) We Know

sidewalk red bricks

Second Sunday in Lent 

When a person wants to believe something so badly that he or she cannot—will not—believe evidence to the contrary, psychologists call it “cognitive dissonance.” My mother used to call it a case of “rose-colored glasses.” My high school friend Nick had a bad case of rose-colored glasses in the shape of a bright yellow 1974 Datsun B210, his very first car. It was a two-door hatchback that had racked up 187,000 miles, and by the looks of it, not one of those miles had been easy. Now Nicky wasn’t much of a hand with automobiles, but he sure loved that car. And in his mind, that little Datsun would run forever.

And then he took it to a mechanic.

“Son, you need to get rid of this car,” the mechanic said. “It just isn’t safe. The windshield is cracked, the wipers don’t work, the passenger door doesn’t open at all. And look at this!” He turned back the floor mat on the driver’s side; through rusted out holes, you could reach down through the floor and touch the pavement. “And I haven’t even begun to tell you about the engine!” Would Nick listen? Not a bit. All he could see was the car that he loved.

The problem is that, when we wear rose-colored glasses, it’s hard to see that the “check engine” light is on.

It’s a good thing that the other Nick set aside his cognitive dissonance—and his rose-colored glasses. Instead of relying on his vast education, Nicodemus went to Jesus, an empty heart ready to be filled. Because, if we’re going to journey with Jesus, we need to leave what (we think) we know, behind.

Reflections of a Moravian on John 3:1–17 (Nicodemus)