Is Ignorance An Excuse?
Hello my friends and family! So it’s been interesting regarding some of the things that I have been wrestling with —only to find out that I’m not the only one in my friend group that’s been wrestling with these things. Then the question began to be, is God correcting me or is He making me wrestle through the truth— so that I will be able to stand?
This morning I woke up with a sense of clarity into both insights. I am sharing first, because you know me, but also because I would imagine that if there are three (that I know of) you may be among others —and what God shows me —He calls me to share and to teach others as well.
There is this angst that has been stirring inside. Almost a despair for what I see happening within the body of Christ. It’s apathy, complacency, the loss of their first love or even potentially just plain laziness. But I kept wondering —why is this hitting me so hard? Why do I almost feel angry sometimes and is it the right anger? Am I judging or am I being discerning? I genuinely feel like I speak the Truth because of love. Because I know the consequences of continuing in a certain way of living & thinking. The frustration lies in those who just seem to accept or make excuses for everything they listen to or study or and the list goes on... and I don’t believe that’s what God says is acceptable. This desire to wrestle even more, went into overdrive, when a friend shared what someone said to her and it was “God is not going to hold you accountable for what you did not know”. Was this true?
So the question is, is ignorance an excuse? In other words, will God forgive what you do not know? But I think it goes deeper than that —because there is a place of willful ignorance, which as a believer is what we’re talking about. But is it also willful disobedience?
I began with asking this question:
How does one “claim” ignorance?
Does Scripture back up what the Holy Spirit was speaking to me?
What Scripture Says
Little children (believers, dear ones), guard yourselves from idols—[false teachings, moral compromises, and anything that would take God’s place in your heart].
1 John 5:21 -
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold, and will turn their ears away from the truth and will wander off into myths and man-made fictions [and will accept the unacceptable].
2 Timothy 4:3-4 -
Be on guard; stand firm in your faith [in God, respecting His precepts and keeping your doctrine sound]. Act like [mature] men and be courageous; be strong. Let everything you do be done in love [motivated and inspired by God’s love for us].
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 -
For certain people have crept in unnoticed [just as if they were sneaking in by a side door]. They are ungodly persons whose condemnation was predicted long ago, for they distort the grace of our God into decadence and immoral freedom [viewing it as an opportunity to do whatever they want], and deny and disown our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude 1:4 -
They profess to know God [to recognize and be acquainted with Him], but by their actions they deny and disown Him. They are detestable and disobedient and worthless for good work of any kind.
Titus 1:16 -
Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15 -
For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth, because that which is known about God is evident within them [in their inner consciousness], for God made it evident to them.
Romans 1:18-19 -
For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense.
Romans 1:20 -
But test all things carefully [so you can recognize what is good]. Hold firmly to that which is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 -
Beloved, do not believe every spirit [speaking through a self-proclaimed prophet]; instead test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets and teachers have gone out into the world.
1 John 4:1 -
Now these people were more noble and open-minded than those in Thessalonica, so they received the message [of salvation through faith in the Christ] with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Acts 17:11 -
But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them. For among them are those who worm their way into homes and captivate morally weak and spiritually-dwarfed women weighed down by [the burden of their] sins, easily swayed by various impulses, always learning and listening to anybody who will teach them, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 3:1-7 -
for their [moral] understanding is darkened and their reasoning is clouded; [they are] alienated and self-banished from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the [willful] ignorance and spiritual blindness that is [deep-seated] within them, because of the hardness and insensitivity of their heart. And they, [the ungodly in their spiritual apathy], having become callous and unfeeling, have given themselves over [as prey] to unbridled sensuality, eagerly craving the practice of every kind of impurity [that their desires may demand].
Ephesians 4:18-19 -
that, regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation].
Ephesians 4:22-24 -
But, there is the flipside and the answer to the other question & what is God saying to me. This is my Prayer that is based on Scripture provided below.
Dearest God, the Holy & victorious Trinity, As Your Word says in Psalm 141:3, is that You Lord, will set a guard over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips & keep me from speaking thoughtlessly. Lord as it warms in Romans 2:1, may it never be that I would pass hypocritical judgement in arrogance or self-righteousness by practicing what I denounce in others. But rather, as Your servant Lord, that I would not participate in quarrels, but be kind to everyone, staying even-tempered, preserving peace, and be skilled in teaching, patient and tolerant when wronged. But that I must also correct those who are in opposition with courtesy and gentleness in the hope that You God may grant that they will repent and be led to the knowledge of the truth & that they will accurately understand and welcome it, so that they may come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil. And as it says in Ephesians 4:14, that I will speak the truth in love and in everything—my speech and my life that I would express Your truth, with genuine desire to grow up in all things into You by following Your example Lord. You call me to speak the truth with my neighbor. I am called to be angry at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior, yet I am told not to sin; to not let my anger to cause me shame, nor should my anger last until the sun goes down. Lord help me to not give the devil any opportunity to lead me into sin. May I not hold a grudge, nurture anger, harbor resentment, or cultivate any bitterness. Lord, Your Word cautions me that knowledge alone makes people self-righteously arrogant. Lord teach me how to cultivate a love that unselfishly seeks the best for others, a love that builds up and encourages them to grow in wisdom. May I never imagine that I know and understand anything of divine matters without love! May I know as I ought to know. May I love You God with awe-filled reverence, obedience and gratitude. Lord, may I be known & greatly loved by You as Your very own. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Scripture to back up my prayer
Therefore you have no excuse or justification, everyone of you who [hypocritically] judges and condemns others; for in passing judgment on another person, you condemn yourself, because you who judge [from a position of arrogance or self-righteousness] are habitually practicing the very same things [which you denounce].
Romans 2:1 -
The servant of the Lord must not participate in quarrels, but must be kind to everyone [even-tempered, preserving peace, and he must be], skilled in teaching, patient and tolerant when wronged. He must correct those who are in opposition with courtesy and gentleness in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and be led to the knowledge of the truth [accurately understanding and welcoming it], and that they may come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 -
But speaking the truth in love [in all things—both our speech and our lives expressing His truth], let us grow up in all things into Him [following His example] who is the Head—Christ.
Ephesians 4:15 -
Therefore, rejecting all falsehood [whether lying, defrauding, telling half-truths, spreading rumors, any such as these], speak truth each one with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one another [and we are all parts of the body of Christ]. Be angry [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down. And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness].
Ephesians 4:25-27 -
Now about food sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge [concerning this]. Knowledge [alone] makes [people self-righteously] arrogant, but love [that unselfishly seeks the best for others] builds up and encourages others to grow [in wisdom]. If anyone imagines that he knows and understands anything [of divine matters, without love], he has not yet known as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God [with awe-filled reverence, obedience and gratitude], he is known by Him [as His very own and is greatly loved].
1 Corinthians 8:1-3 -
This is by no means a comprehensive documentation but it is a starting point. I hope that it blesses you and that God will use it to grow and empower you. With all my love ~ Cheryl
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Life IS ministry. I choose to live [in] Christ. Jesus Freak. Hugger. Daughter. Wife. Mom. Friend. Disciple Maker. Talent Sharer. Girl Boss. Challenger.