Saturday, November 22, 2008
Often new understandings are not entirely new facts but are rather, corrections of previously held errors. This is why going outside the body of traditional, accepted understanding is dangerous and not particularly popular. This brings us face to face with two uncomfortable issues. The first is that there is always a group of people who have built a reputation or livelihood on the existing understandings. These people are not particularly pleased with the prospect of these understandings being shown to be in error or even held up as being incomplete.
The other issue is one of stability and comfort. Inside the established understanding box we know how things are. Inside the box we have the comfort (although it may be a false comfort) of stability and predictability. It may be a limited system but it is our system. This is often one of the founding principles of denominational religion.
Sadly, if we have a true desire to grow we must be willing to receive correction.
This is not nearly so painful if we stop and consider the alternatives to growth. As I am fond of thinking of it, people are like trees in this regard. A tree exists in only one of two states--it is either growing or dying. We too, are either growing or dying. I would rather be corrected and be alive and growing spiritually than to live in a false stability of spiritual death (stagnation).
It is not a mark of shame that we have a set of misconceptions incorporated in our basic understanding. This is not evidence that we are stupid, immoral or slow-witted. Think of where we came from. We all have come out of the world.
This is a world that is awash in misconceptions, ignorance and outright dishonesty. You must always keep in mind that the world is under control of the evil one: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1John 5:19) So we all come into the life of Christ with an impressive set of fairy tales about the way things are. This reality is difficult to accept, especially for us who are convinced that we are pretty savvy about how things are. It is, nonetheless, true.
We need to consider some things. What is more important—coming to a deeper understanding of the Father, His world and ourselves or preserving our own foolish pride? To me, there is nothing sweeter than coming to know the truths of God. I am practical enough to realize that this sweetness may be too esoteric for many people. Then consider the pragmatic advantages of growing in the understanding of the truth.