Do you know how smart you are? Recently, I came across a research study called “Dunning-Kruger Effect,” which is about the cognitive bias whereby people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability. It means those who are less intelligent tend to believe they are smarter than others. It humbles me because it makes me realize that I am not that smart at all. What a discovery!
It began with a bank robbery case in Pittsburgh in 1995, where this man robbed two banks in a row in broad daylight without even covering his face. He learned from somewhere that if you wear lemon juice on your face, the security camera could not capture his face. So, when the police showed him the video from the surveillance cameras, he couldn’t believe it was real. He thought it was a setup, saying, “It’s impossible. I wore the juice.”
You might have heard about that case. The stupidity of that bank robber triggered the curiosity of social psychologists to study how people evaluate their own intelligence. Professors David Dunning and Justin Kruger published their discovery in 1999, and that’s why it’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect.
The research found that most people overestimate their abilities and think they are above average, but their test scores prove far lower than they assumed. The researchers say that way to overcome stupidity is to gain more knowledge because the more you learn, the more you discover that you know so little.
The key concept is “We know what we know, but we don’t know what we don’t know.” It’s more profound than it sounds. For example, if I have read 100 books. I know my knowledge is within these 100 books. So, I know what I know. But I don’t know how many books are still there to learn. It could be thousands or even millions. So, I don’t know what I don’t know.
The difference is that smart people have discovered that their ability is like a drop of water in a vast ocean. Stupid people think their ability is like 80% of water in a small teacup. They think they just need to learn a little bit more to know everything.
When you reach the point of humility to be able to say, “I don’t know what I don’t know,” you are getting pretty smart.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the theologian who plotted to assassinate Hitler, wrote a famous stupidity theory. He said that stupidity is more dangerous than evil. We can expose evil and find a way to confront it, but we are defenseless when dealing with a stupid person. We cannot reason with them or convince them, and they can be senseless and dangerous.
When Jesus was on the cross, he prayed to God, saying,
“Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34c).
This prayer indicates that their problem is not innocent but ignorant. Ignorance is so dangerous that it could put innocent people on the cross. All the research studies show arrogance is the root of ignorance. The foundation of wisdom is humility.
In that case, Easter humbles us significantly because it opens a can of worms by broadening our sphere of “we don’t know what we don’t know.” It reveals that what we don’t know is not just here and now but also an eternity to discover. Someone said, “I feel my brain expand as I think about Easter.” It’s a great metaphor.
We read about how Easter changed the lives of a group of simple-minded disciples and turned them from zeros to heroes. If we look at history, the message of Easter expanded the intelligence and imagination of the believers for two thousand years and advanced human civilization beyond limits.
So, today, let’s explore how Easter makes us feel like a drop of water in a vast ocean and how such humility expands our IQ, EQ, and SQ—our Intelligent Quotient, Emotional Quotient, and Spiritual Quotient. Let’s begin!
[Hi, in case we haven’t met yet, I am Sam Stone, the Lightkeeper—you are the light of the world, and I am the keeper! (No pun intended). It’s my calling to help you shine your brightest so that God is glorified in you, and you are satisfied in God.]
Today is Easter Sunday, and the Scripture lesson is from the Gospel according to Luke 24:1-12. [Listen to the Word of the Lord!]
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5 The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8 Then they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened. (Lk 24:1–12).
[This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!]
I like the question the angels asked, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” because it forces us to think beyond the box. The angels reminded them that Jesus had told them that he would be “crucified and on the third day rise again.” It was not that they had forgotten what Jesus had told them, but because it was beyond the range of their intelligence and imagination.
It says they were perplexed seeing the empty tomb and terrified seeing the angels. I am sure I would feel the same if I were there. The good news is once we realize Jesus has risen from the dead, it expands our horizon of intelligence and imagination. Once our horizon expands, we become more humble, and once we become more humble, we become more intelligent.
Today, I would like to explore the six dimensions of horizon expansion using the word EASTER as a mnemonic acrostic.
E is for Eternity.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us a glimpse of eternity. You will not see the world the same again when you realize life is more than just here and now. A hundred years on earth becomes extremely short through the lens of eternity.
All the complaints about life become trivial; all the bickering and fights in our society become nonsensical; all the stress and suffering of life become temporal.
It also means that your actions could have eternal consequences because life doesn’t end here and now. The Bible says,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16).
That’s what Easter is about! Because of Jesus Christ, you don’t have to worry about the brevity of life, and what you do now becomes consequential. It keeps you humble and expands your horizon of intelligence and imagination.
A is for Advantage.
Easter expands our relationships and gives you the family advantage. The Bible says,
“In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” (Gal 3:26).
There is a big advantage of belonging to a family of over 2 billion members worldwide. Wherever you travel around the world, you will always find some brothers or sisters providing you with help and hospitality.
I had a few incidents in my life when I got stuck in a foreign country without access to money because the bank was closed. There were always some God-loving Christians who lent me a helping hand as if I was their family member.
You will never feel lonely when you realize you have the Creator of the universe as your Father and your companion at all times. You have an unfair advantage as a child of God, a prince or princess of the King of the universe. You may be alone, but you will never be lonely.
A wise man said, “Success is not how, but who.” It means success does not depend on your competence as much as on your connection. Just imagine that you are connected with the Creator of the universe and his two billion believers. You have less than six degrees of separation.
Your family advantage gives you a sense of certainty in this uncertain world.
S is for Surprises.
Human beings enjoy surprises. We need certainty to feel secure, but we also want variety to add some flavors to life. Every now and then, we need some surprises to have fun. Children love surprises, don’t they? If you have played peekaboo with little children, you know surprises add a lot of fun to life.
Many adults have lost that sense of expectation. We become pessimistic and cynical after being beaten repeatedly by the storms of suffering in this world.
Easter resurrects our childlike expectation for surprises. Jesus said unless we are like children, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Having positive expectations is one of the mental attitudes of children. Easter is all about surprises.
The women and the disciples were surprised to see the empty tomb and later see him in person in his new appearance.
Easter expands our creativity by allowing us to think outside of the box with great expectations. Life is never boring when you have surprises and variety.
T is for Transformation.
Easter did not just end with surprises. It is life-transforming because growth starts with humility. God loves you the way you are, but God loves you too much to leave you the way you are. He saves you and then sanctifies you—he turns you into a saint. The Bible says,
“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Co 5:17).
The disciples were like cowards hiding from the scene of the crucifixion. After Easter, they turned into heroes risking their lives to spread the good news of Jesus’ resurrection. Their transformation is strong evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ because no one will risk their lives for a lie.
When your horizon of intelligence and imagination expands beyond this life, you are no longer the same again. Your thinking changes, your mindset changes, your attitude changes, and everything changes. Even if you don’t notice it, your family does. People often say, “After accepting Jesus Christ, my wife says I am a different person.”
Easter even transformed history. Because of Easter, our calendar has been divided into two—BCE and CE (or BC and AD). Every time you put your signature down, you are required to reference Jesus Christ by putting down the date. The year 2022 begins with the first Easter. Without Easter, Christmas doesn’t mean anything. Every religious leader was born, but none of them rose from the dead.
Easter transformed history, and it continues to expand your intelligence and imagination.
E is for Empowerment.
Not only will your life be transformed when you belong to the people of Easter, but you will also be empowered to transform the world around you. There are many problems around us that you might feel powerless to do anything about, but Paul said,
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Php 4:13).
The secret is where your strength comes from. If you rely on your own power, you know your limitation, and it will generate a great deal of stress and anxiety. Recent statistics show that 90% of doctor’s office visits are for stress-related problems. Can you believe that?
We are not created to be self-reliant but God-reliant. Self-reliance sounds impressive, but it generates stress and anxiety because it’s like a computer running on a battery. God-reliance is like plugging your power chord into the wall socket and receiving unlimited power.
After Easter, Jesus empowered the disciples to liberate people from this anxious world, and they did. In the same way, you are also commissioned to spread the good news that heals people and gives them hope. Jesus said that you would do greater things than he did. Easter expands your mission and equips you to fulfill it.
Lastly, R is for Reunion.
One of the sources of stress and suffering in life is separation. We are separated by broken relationships, tragedy, or death. However, because of Easter, we will all be reconciled and reunited in the presence of God. We will live happily ever after on the other side of eternity. The Bible says,
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21:4).
Knowing that all relationships will be reconciled one day is a big stress reliever. On the day of the reunion, love has overcome hatred, peace has overcome violence, and joy has overcome misery. The former things have passed away, and the new has come.
Jesus Christ has paid a great price to make this happen. He gave his life to redeem us from the enslavement of sin that keeps us shortsighted. So, receive him as your Lord and Savior, and expand your horizon of intelligence and imagination. Now, let’s review the six dimensions of horizon expansion.
We don’t know what we don’t know, but Easter makes us even more humble by revealing how exciting, exhilarating, and enlightening eternity is. The risen Christ has extended our vision and expanded our imagination. We are no longer a drop of water in the ocean but a speck of dust in the Milkyway. Let’s live the eternal life from now and forever.
That’s it for today. I hope you find this message illuminating as much as I enjoy receiving it from the Head Office. Until we meet again, keep your light shining brighter and broader, and harvest the fruit of profound happiness.