People tend to misunderstand in a way that always benefits them!
Understanding is a matter of the heart. The desire for understanding is healthy and expected. Proverbs advises us to seek understanding; in fact, along the continuum of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, a faithful heart that trusts God is the only means by which we can understand.
For the heart that does not trust, the need to understand is a form of testing God. We essentially put Him on trial to prove Himself beyond what He has already proven in Christ. Fears or unwillingness to walk in love, for example, have to be justified. The very best justification is, “I don’t understand.” The resistant believer will nearly always claim to need more explanation or clarification before complying with something “as complicated” as walking in love. The question, “Who is my neighbor?” was presented to Jesus by someone who claimed not to understand these two love commands. It sounds like a reasonable question, but confusion is usually the result of selfish ambition.
The disciple, however, trusts Jesus’ representation of God’s character, His interpretation of God’s commandments, and His teaching about faith and love as the motive for application of God’s truth. If you cultivate a repentant, teachable heart, you will hear, understand, believe, and receive, even in the absence of doctrinal definitions, because it is a heart phenomenon, not an intellectual comprehension.
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