Learning

Don’t Teach by Telling but by Showing

Ed, my neighbor next door, says that you should never tell a person how to do something. Show the person how to do it instead, and then watch him do it on his own. If he can do it on his own, he has learned something; if he cannot do it on his own, then show him how to do again. I asked Ed how many times that he would show me how to drive his new combine next summer? “Not even once,” he answered, “the combine is too valuable to let you learn to drive it. You might wreck it.”

I wasn’t sad that Ed doesn’t trust me enough to teach me how to drive his combine. I guess we all decide if and how much we will teach someone else. If Ed wanted to preach a sermon, I wouldn’t trust him in the pulpit as I’d be afraid that he would trash the word of God.

Teaching by example is not an easy thing to do. Showing how to do something means we have to do it first. When we do something first, we prove it can be done. Jesus came to be with us on earth that we might see and follow his example of love to God his Father in heaven, and to everyone on earth. Jesus though tempted to sin did not sin. He obeyed the laws of God for us completely. His example was perfect.

Teaching by example is good, but the example we set is never totally flawless. God’s law is not popular because it makes us conscious of sin in ourselves and our lives. The law of God frustrates us because we cannot keep it perfectly. If we ignore the law, it still sticks around to trouble us, and make us yearn for something better within us. Everyone has a conscience that will not be silenced completely.

Since Adam and Eve, sin has always been a reality of the world and people’s lives. Out of the heart comes; evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. God gave the Ten Commandments because folks can get so hardened in conscience that they don’t know the difference between right and wrong. God gave Jesus Christ his Son because people cannot keep the laws of God by their own effort or will. Knowing what is the right thing to do, does not mean we will do it. Sometimes we do the wrong thing because we aren’t aware of what is right. Mostly we sin because it satisfies our sinful nature even though it is deadly for us. Hatred, discord, jealousy, slander, sexual immorality, and drunkenness are common and not easily given up. Sin is our greatest addiction, and there is only one cure for it. The cure is faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. God acted in love in Jesus. God reconciled the world to himself in him, not counting men’s sins against them. Our sins have been charged to Christ, the Savior, and Christ’s righteousness has been credited to us. God did this in Christ that we would follow Christ’s example and serve God and our neighbor in love.

 

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Raymond Maher
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