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Learned or Educated?

09/13/2014 1 comment

“You’re a Hebrew scholar,” she said, “perhaps you can tell me where black people come from since Adam was white.”

The question came after a Wednesday evening teaching many years ago. I started to give her the various theories I’d learned in my college days. Since I didn’t feel that’s what she needed, I started to suggest that Adam was black, and the real question is, “where did the white people come from?” That was obviously an inappropriate response. Then I heard the Spirit say to me, “Tell her the truth.” When I asked Father what’s the truth here, he reminded me that I don’t really know; I only know theories.

Her mouth almost dropped to the floor when I said, “I don’t know.” When she gathered herself together she exclaimed, “Oh! If you don’t know, I guess it’s okay for me not to know.” That answer was exactly what she needed to hear.

Often our pride is unwilling to admit we don’t know. We want to look smart in the eyes of others. I wonder how many times people have been cheated by teachers like me who weren’t really listening to the heart of the student. Often we only listen for an invitation to impress others with how much we’ve learned. Another word for this is the fear of man; it’s a snare for the arrogant ego that wants to look good to others and feel good about himself. It’s also a trap for those who want their teachers to think they understand when they don’t.

We must be willing to acknowledge our ignorance, unless we already know everything there is to know about everything. The difference between an educated person and one who is uneducated is that the educated person knows how much he doesn’t know. There are many learned men and women with post-graduate degrees who are not yet educated, at least not by this definition.

Some very educated people don’t even have a high school diploma. Authentic education doesn’t come in the classroom; it comes in life experiences. True learning only comes as we live the truth. This is what Jesus meant when he said to the Pharisees, “Go learn what this means; ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’” When we show mercy, we learn what it means by observing the results of our action. We must live the truth to know the truth.

The learned Jewish scholars knew the meaning of the word mercy and could’ve quoted verses from Scripture to defend their definition. They could’ve even quoted other scholars who had different views. Their learning was all in their heads. They had a doctrine of mercy, but they had no mercy. If they’d been willing to show mercy to those who were less brilliant than them, they would’ve been more open to see who Jesus really was, Emmanuel, God with us.

Through the years I’ve known many church leaders who have a very strong doctrine of the grace of God. They teach well, but their relationship with their staff and family clearly shows they have no grace. A doctrine of grace without the experience never produces a gracious personality. They’re not yet educated in the matter of grace.

When one experiences the grace of God in the depths of his heart, he will be gracious to others. Those who’ve experienced the embrace of Father God naturally embrace others. It has often been said, “Wounded people wound people. Healed people heal people.”

When we measure our maturity by the freedom of those around us, we begin to get an idea of how far we have to grow. In living it we learn it, and we grow as we learn. It’s only as we know the truth in this way that the truth makes us free, free to experience the presence of the Lord. We experience God’s presence in the process of living out the truth we know in our head.

Looking forward,
Fount Shults, President, On Word Ministries http://www.onword.org

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