A Hermit advised, “If someone speaks to you about a controversy, do not argue with him. If what he says makes sense, say, ‘Yes.’ If his comments are misguided, say, ‘I don’t know anything about that.’ If you refuse to dispute with his ideas, your mind will be at peace.
For years I knew a man who was a very wise Christian. For most of those years I failed to recognize the wisdom and thought his simplicity came from lack of learning, training, or unfamiliarity with the many books I had read.
I was aware that in discussions of prayer we would quickly come to disagreements and he would say, “Well, I don’t know anything about that.”
It was commonplace that I would argue with him about his understanding of Providence (he had utter and complete trust in it). I would make very good points and he would say, “I don’t know anything about that.”
I knew that even in the years before he retired he would rise early to go to his Church to simply walk about and pray. He did this at least as regularly as he ate breakfast. He had many other times and places for prayer – but “I don’t know anything about that.”
He passed away several years ago, as faithfully and joyously as he had always lived. I used to argue with him about his attitude of giving thanks to God for all things. I remember many those arguments, like others, ending with his, “I wouldn’t know anything about that.”
I now know his understanding to have been true wisdom – the wisdom which comes from knowing God and keeping His commandments. Some years before his death I came to agree with him about thanksgiving for all things. After that, our conversations were largely confined to discussions of the goodness of God. About this we could find no disagreement.
If I live long enough, perhaps I will come to “not know” as much as he did.