21 May 2007

Ignorant Culpability

I've been reflecting on Numbers 22:34. In the midst of the Balak/Balaam narrative (Num 22-24), in one of the most well-known parts, in which Balaam's donkey is more spiritually discerning than Balaam himself in ascertaining the presence of the angel of the Lord, Balaam's humbled response is:

"I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me."

I simply notice this: Balaam candidly acknowledges sin, despite the fact that it was something of which he was completely ignorant. Our culture has a hard time admitting sin (so does my own heart!), let alone sin done in ignorance. We see that we might be guilty for deliberate, willful transgressions--but mere ignorance? being unaware? Surely that is excuseable!

Not in the mind of a humbled Balaam. Culpability is not confined to that of which we are aware.

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