September 2018: Thought For The Month

August 31 2018

Knowing, not just knowing about

We use the word “know” in English concerning people in two complimentary but quite distinct ways.  There is knowing meaning knowledge or information about someone and there is knowing in the sense of a relationship. In the relationship there is also a knowledge about the person, which can be very useful, but it cannot replace knowing a person.

We know a lot about people in the public eye, for example, a senior politician such as the Prime Minister, Theresa May. I realised I knew quite a lot of information about her but I don’t know her. What I know about her might give me some idea of what she is really like but it would never get me to the place where I could say I know her and with information alone I might form a misleading picture. I learnt from a recent interview that she loves cooking, owning 150 cook books and she enjoys walking and watching NCIS as a way of relaxation. I could build up a picture as if I knew her relationally, but I don’t, and she doesn’t know me.  Knowing in a sense of relationship can only exist in a two way sense, if I knew her she would have to know me. If I did know her I would be able to go way beyond information. The public profile alone, such as politicians have, ceases to mean anything.

Really knowing someone is a precious gift. When you know someone there is a consistency of what you know about them and the person themselves, the two come together.  I  know my wife and sometimes, and I say that deliberately because this is not always the case, I can sense her thoughts, read a glance of her eyes, and understand her at an unspoken level of communication. This can only come from the experience of a person, with time spent together, communicating and seeking to understand each other. In this kind of knowing there is a meaningful connection. 

Why I am saying this is that God has promised that we may know him as a person, not just about him. The Message version of the bible describes the promise of God like this: “They won’t go to school to learn about me, or buy a book called God in 5 easy lessons. They will all get to know me first hand” Hebrews 8 v 11.

Intimacy, (in to me see), can be an overused word now, but that is what God has done for us in Jesus.  Through Jesus, God has let us see into himself, to know him. So our knowing about him and our personal knowing come together.

Although God is never fully knowable because he is infinite in his wisdom and power, his promise is that we can get to know him through Jesus and we can grow in this relationship.

 

 

Tony Davies

Tony leads Waterbook Church which meets every Sunday at 10.30am in Begbrook School , Stapleton. You will be welcome-see their website www.waterbrook.org.uk