The Heart of Teaching Made Perfect in Known Weakness
“…we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.” 1Thessalonians 2:7-8
Teaching for those who are gifted to teach is easy. If you’re a parent you may not be a good teacher but you are teaching your children whether you know it or not. By default, you teach them what and what not to do and so the spotlight and magnifying glass are readily set before you day and night inspecting and broadcasting your ‘class’ to eager eyes and ears.
Praise God for grace for many times our parent-pods are not exemplary yet He is sufficient for us as family leaders and teachers to aid and supply. While living rightly is our command and our children should see our pursuit of holiness and life of gratitude- it is also good that they see us as real people; real people who struggle like them to do what God requires.
It is good that they see us fail for the last thing in the world we need is for our children to think that we have ‘arrived’ and that we don’t need God’s help through mercy and love and grace each and every day. The same can be said of the pastorate and with our friends. Certainly there should be a level of maturity present in those who lead, but far too often transparency is a commodity reserved for privacy rather than for the profit of all.
Students, no matter who they are, benefit from knowing that not only does their teacher have good qualities and information, but they are also not super-sanctified faultless humans. Everyone battles the flesh. The temptation to prop up the pedestal and make yet another idol is strong, yet as Christ taught us, only “… One is your teacher and you are all brothers…” Matthew 23:8
Concerning his apostolic position, Paul related to the church at Corinth how he had and ongoing pride temptation (as most who are highly gifted do) and he speaks counter-intuitively in 2Corinthians 12:7-10 to the assembly about the greatness of God in Christ seen through the admittance of his weaknesses.
“Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me– to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Crazy, eh? Now this is not a license to sin and merely claim “MESSENGER OF SATAN!” We are to put to death the old man and to live according to the new but realize that part of the new man is proper humility. Humility breeds the right gentleness for the humble man remembers from where he has come. The humble man is in tune with his weaknesses and struggles and embodies an empathetic soul. The humble man teaches with patience and reverence and self-control.
We shouldn’t forget where we have come from as the most miserable of men and yet we should still remember that even on our best day we are far from perfected. Let this sink in to your heart and let the flood of grace send compassion forth in all that you do.