Deniability. Have you ever ignored warning signs?? “If I tell myself something is not there, then it does not exist, and I will be safe.” Hmmm. After 9-11 we saw this full scale as Americans traded their true liberty for a false security and a criminal war in Iraq. “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 TIM 4:4) The prophet Isaiah spoke about those who lived a life of ease, pleasure & carelessness. (ISA 47:8) And Messiah, while he went about, constantly spoke against the hardness of people’s hearts and ears. Just as we will always have the poor with us, we will always have the “tickle-my-ears-while-I-see-no-evil, hear-no-evil” crowd with us. There is a lot of deniability going on today. One historical example is people who lived near Nazi concentration camps who after the war said, “But I didn’t know.”
If we examine threats and risks, we often can take remedial action to protect ourselves. Often the sooner we face real threats the better. Another WW 2 example is how Japan ignored the whole subject of protecting their merchant marine fleet. Japan’s economy totally depended upon raw materials (such as oil, iron, copper, sugar & even rice) shipped to the homeland. They estimated they needed 3 million tons/year. The U.S. Board of Economic Warfare more accurately pegged their need as more like 6 million tons/yr. At the time of Pearl Harbor, Japan had a merchant fleet of 6.4 million tons, not counting their wooden ships. But they incredibly…for a whole variety of reasons…such as thinking that defensive thinking was cowardly vs. offensive thinking… refused to acknowledge the dangers to their merchant fleet. Consequently American subs and planes easily sank their by & large unprotected merchant fleet. By the time they realized they should be protecting it…it was gone! The Americans had protected their merchant ships in convoys with escort carriers. Late in 1944, the Japanese decided to imitate the Americans and sent the Taiyo, Unyo, and Shinyo escort carriers out with convoys. All these escort carriers were sunk by American subs on their first voyages. The point is that if you wait until the last minute to deal with reality, in one’s haste and inexperience with dealing with reality, one may fail miserably. Rather than ignore threats, what if early on we can look at our range of options. In the case of Japan, they had lots of resources & options that could have protected their fleets. Ignorance was not bliss.
Sometimes to learn something, we have to be willing to admit to ourselves we don’t know something. If our ego is fragile, such an admission may threaten our false image. Were you ever in a vehicle going mile after mile in the wrong direction with a driver who didn’t want to admit they were lost? This is why the Word of God says, “Let no man deceive himself,…let him become foolish that he may become wise.” 1 COR 3:18.
How about when we knew as kids something was wrong, but the adults were pretending everything is fine? I remember asking the Benjamin Franklin bank officials about reports I had heard that they were going to close their doors. “Oh no, we are completely solid. Nothing like that will happen.” The next day they were closed (sold to Bank of America) and the signs & banners of Bank of America were up. To have prepared for all those new signs and change over obviously took time, so obviously someone of their staff knew far ahead that Benjamin Franklin Banks were closing. We can view learning as scary, or we can view it as an adventure, a challenge at times, but worthwhile. The alternative is to join the class of the willfully blind. Christ said of these willfully blind, “Let them alone; they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (MT 15:14, cf. 26:16)