339 – Teaching, Criticizing, Helping & Self-Indictment

The purpose of teaching is to help.

As with distinctions that don’t make a meaningful difference, criticizing without helping indicts oneself. If you know about a problem, your first responsibility is to help with it. If you are aware of a problem, but don’t prevent or fix it, you are at most an accomplice or at least a Bad Samaritan.

Teaching must never be from mere theory, but only from the teacher’s own experience. People who give destructive advice—whether they are teachers, consultants, or “well-meaning” friends—give destructive advice because they teach “truth” from either theory or failure.

“I tried and tried, then I finally had to learn that you just can’t change that system. You need to accept that if you want to move on with your life.” His is the “wisdom” from failure. He presumes, “If I can’t, no one can,” but he’s wrong. His instruction only teaches you that he failed and became what conquered him.

The other kind of bad teacher teaches from theory, not experience. Theories are good, but they must be presented as “mere theory”, neither “truth” nor “wisdom”.

Only teach what you have tried and actually done. Share observations as mere observations. Anything else is evil, especially with “good intentions”. Teach people however they learn. Push, encourage, but also understand and illuminate their difficulties and challenges, guiding them along. Don’t ever ask people to change who God made them to be.

God invented rules and teaching to liberate and empower people. Rules that burden and weigh people down are self-made morals, not from God. God’s commands keep people alive and protect them from the oppression of disease, anarchy, and not belonging to a loving home. Once our misinterpretation of “Biblical morality” steals the joy of morality, it is no longer “Biblical” and we have probably created our own “fence laws”. The same is true with any teaching.

Don’t make learning a burden. People have enough to-do lists, don’t give them more. Demonstrate the more excellent way yourself. Guidelines empower and liberate. Help strengthen others by example; demonstrate that good choices can also be an option.

Teaching means this: For goodness sake, go and live a thriving life!

Psalm 119:32, Matthew 23:1-15, Luke 11:28, 45-52, Ephesians 4:29, 1 Timothy 3:1, James 3:1