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From error to growth
- Jacob Ninan
It shouldn't shock us to realise that there are many errors in what we all believe. (I am not necessarily talking about major errors that may be called heresy, but those that are not perfectly right in the way we understand things, or do or think.) We have picked up a lot of errors from our parents and other people around us, from our teachers and classmates, from society, the media, etc. Even the things we have learned from the Bible may be in error -- I am not saying there is error in the Bible, but we may have misunderstood or have not understood many things we have read. There may also be errors in what our church teaches us or practises -- no church is perfect. This is all because none of us is perfect or knows everything perfectly.
Jesus was truth personified (Jn.14:6), and He came to teach us the truth, to set us free from error (Jn.8:32), and to give us an abundant life (Jn.10:10). He does it now in our life through the Holy Spirit who shows us the error in our life and leads us to all the truth (Jn.16:13). But He doesn't do this automatically but with our cooperation as we acknowledge our error and accept the truth.
A lot of our understanding is based on our past experiences, and they have moulded our way of thinking and responses to situations and new ideas. Our respect for our parents may sometimes hinder us from recognising that not all that they have taught us is true. In the same way, we may so value the teachings that we have received from spiritual leaders that we don't even think of questioning if they are all fully true. Because of such reasons we may not even realise that some of the beliefs we hold on to now or the approach we take now may be wrong. But how we defend our position and beliefs!
The fact is, our progress and growth are dependent on not only getting to know new truths but also in giving up erroneous ways and changing over to true ways. The way to inhibit our growth is to stick to our position and refuse to examine our belief systems. That is the easiest thing to do -- not questioning what we believe and rejecting outright any idea that is contrary to what we believe. But remember this, every significant step of growth is based on revelation of 'new' truths and responding to them.
One ability God has given to everyone is to think rationally, subject to the Holy Spirit, and to make choices. This is so much necessary if we are to grow spiritually and not to remain stagnant where we are. However farther we have come since we were born again, there is much we need to grow up to, and this can only come if we are willing to constantly question ourselves, reject error and learn new things. Those who say, "This is the way we have always done, and that is how it will be," are signing away further growth. Even churches and organisations can grow only through reformation -- rejecting wrong ways and changing over to right or better ways. May the Lord give all of us the honesty and humility that we need to move forward.