How Much Must One Know To Beat Ignorance?
by Daniel Owino Ogweno
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Everyone is ignorant; it is only the degree and type that make the difference. It is understandable to be ignorant, but because ‘ignorance is no defense’ you do not need to defend it either; let not your ignorance be a result of 'ignoring' what you should pay attention to.
Everyone, I am included, falls somewhere in the scale of ignorance. For example, right now, as I write this I completely know nothing about what I don't know. Acknowledging that you are ignorant only means that you know that you don't know everything about everything.
There are so many types of ignorance(s), for now, let’s look at four:
i) Ignorant Ignorance: You don't know that you don't know.
Example: Paul asked the Ephesians: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit” (Acts 19:2).
Remember: Interact and fellowship with brethren. As you do this, you will come to know what didn’t know. It is better to listen, for by doing so, you may come to know that you didn’t know.
ii) Arrogant Ignorance: You don’t know because you think you know.
For example, the Bible says: “Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know” (1 Cor. 8:2).
Remember: Humble yourself and ask questions if there is something you are not familiar with. Even if you are a teacher, your students can inform you a great deal. It is better to ask a foolish question than let people find out for themselves after you act foolishly.
iii) Complacent Ignorance: You don’t know because you think you know (or have) it ALL. Here you think that you know all that should be known about a subject.
Think about it! Paul unto whom God had given tremendous revelations and insight could still maintain that he knew ‘in part’.
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, … For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Cor. 13:9,12).
The Apostle Paul ‘fought’ hard to beat complacent ignorance.
“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,… Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:10,12-14).
Remember: Regardless of how much you know, do not behave as if you have ‘reached’, strive on.
iv) Preferred Ignorance: You’d rather not know. You’ve probably heard someone say: “I don’t want to know”.
The book of Jeremiah is awash with the expression of “They would not listen” (Jer. 7:26).
The people of Anathoth, for example, threatened to kill Jeremiah, saying, “Do not prophesy in the name of the LORD or you will die by our hands” (Jer. 11:21). What they were saying in other words, was, We don't want to hear it. So, if these people were caught up in the repercussions of their rebellion, it was by choice.
Remember: It is better to listen even if you don’t want to hear, than wish you listen when the damage is already done.
NB: If the reader is interested, see how ignorance of some sort causes Imbalance in understanding and acting the things of God: Fundamentals of Balanced Christianity
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