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by Jacob Ninan

Most disagreements among believers originate from the tendency to look at things from an outward point of view. People judge one another based on what they have seen and heard, without seeing the spirit or motive behind one another's words and deeds. Yet that is what God looks at (2Sa.16:7), and what really counts. God takes it seriously against a man who says and does the right things while keeping a wrong attitude or motive in his heart, and shows great mercy on one who errs in his words and deeds while keeping a good spirit.

This same tendency comes into picture when believers try to understand Scripture. They look at the words, and analyse the Hebrew and Greek roots, and fail to understand what the mind of the Lord is concerning various issues they are debating. God's solution for this is the anointing of the Holy Spirit (1Jn.2:27). The anointing of God helps us to understand God's ways in such a way that when there is a difference of opinion about some doctrine, we have a witness in our hearts concerning the truth. We need this sense for the truth if we are to be preserved in these last days from deceptions on one hand and empty discussions on the other hand.

It would not be so bad if our understanding is not clear about matters that do not immediately concern us. For example, there have been countless allegations about this or that person being the Antichrist, and many explanations about how he will control the whole world. These are things feeding one's curiosity, and it will not make any significant difference to us in heaven if our explanation is found to be in error.

But it is extremely dangerous if we are mistaken concerning things that affect our eternal life. Our personal salvation and all the factors that are connected with it are so important that we cannot afford to be mistaken about them. Our understanding of God's character and His ways are important not only for our own salvation but also in being able to proclaim Him correctly to the others. Our relationship with the other people and the things of the world also have to be seen in the light of eternal values. It is here that we must make every attempt to ensure that we are heading in the right direction.

Not one of us can claim total freedom from error or perfect understanding. The best of us know only in part, and we are all prone to deceiving ourselves and being deceived. Our safety is in being absolutely honest before God and being willing to acknowledge our sins, mistakes or errors whenever they are brought to light, directly by God or through men or circumstances.

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