December 14, 2010

To Live is Christ — with questions

No matter what I want someone to do, I’d like them to first have some training and experience in that field. My doctor has eight years of medical school and several years practicing medicine. I’d not take my physical problems to the grocer or the driving instructor, no more than I’d expect the doctor to be an expert in coffee, tea or produce, traffic rules or parallel parking.

God knows this. No one wants the person who struggles with lying to help them learn to tell the truth. No one wants those who explode in anger to tell them how to control their temper. Learn it first, then teach it. 

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5)
From growing orchids to being organized, advice is better received from the people who not only know how to do it, but are actually doing it. Earn the right to help others by living right yourself.

My curiosity and thirst for information means that my head is full of stuff that does not automatically translate into practice. I know the right way to garden, but my yard isn’t going to win prizes. I know the right way to sew a man’s shirt, but my hubby gets his in the mens’ wear department. I also know how to deal with sin, but I’m far from perfect.

I suppose a goal of “be perfect at it before you teach it” is also not practical. In fact, it is impossible. My doctor is not House (who isn’t perfect either), but continually works at being more knowledgeable and more able to help others. My grocer doesn’t know what Kimchee is, or didn’t until I told him.

Jesus’ words about the log in the eye are not about perfection, but about continual attention to my own shortcomings. He’s put me in the ministry of teaching others. I’m not a perfect teacher nor does He expect that. He simply expects me to take care of the sin in my life as it surfaces. I cannot tell others how to overcome their sin issues if I’m not working on my own.

This raises two questions for me for which I don’t have answers. One is this: can I teach from my mistakes? Example: if I didn’t do something the way God wants it done, repented and learned from that mistake, can I now teach others the right way to do it? I cannot go back and redo this to make “doing it right” a part of my experience. The log is out of my eye, but does that qualify me to help those who struggle with specks?

The second question: can I teach in an area where my experience is limited? Example: If my class needs to know good principles of evangelism and I have the knowledge but limited experience, can I teach them how to do it? In this situation, I may have more experience than most of the class, but feel this is not a prominent or well-used skill in my own life. Can I still teach a class on evangelism? Is this lack in me actually a “log” or is it more like “one person cannot do everything”?

I’m sure that the Lord will answer my questions, but if anyone has biblical direction for these two examples, comments are invited.

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