As a child how many times were you guilty of saying, “well nobody told me!” when indeed we had been told in one way or another. As we matured, perhaps we were guilty of saying something like, “well I didn’t know it was against the law” to which someone of authority probably replied, “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”
In short, many of the situations we get ourselves into trouble revolve around things/actions that we should have known we should not have done. We were either taught the rightness and the wrongness of things and should be able to apply these lessons in life as we mature or we simply didn’t care about the morality of something and then complained about not knowing or not being told.
In the Gospel Jesus tells the story about a rich man who ignored the things he was taught as a Jewish person, but only bothered applying the things that didn’t effect him personally, like taking care of the poor around him. He had heard the words of Moses and all the prophets about how to live his life, specifically about our attitude toward wealth and the needs of those around us and how to deal with the poor, but he chose to ignore them.
Finally when in death he is faced with the reality of how he is being dealt with by God in the afterlife, he responds much like we did as a child, “I didn’t know, because nobody told me” or as an adult, “I didn’t know it was against the law.” Now he is asking for the mercy he denied the poor man Lazarus and now he faces the final judgment and punishment.
For us, we can choose to live our lives imagining that we are fine, and that we are following God’s will, Jesus’ teaching and in our mind, being a good disciple, but at the same time we need to be sure that we are actually living the Christian life.
It would be a shame for us to imagine ourselves doing so well, all the while not following essential teachings in what it means to be a disciple of Christ.