Experience is Not the Best Teacher, But it is Good Teacher
Phyllis and I commenced a study Through The Bible in a Year by Bible Recap. We were motivated by a desire to know more about the Bible. One book in particular captured my attention. The unlikely book of Job.
Job was an interesting and complex person who lived about 1500 years BC. I was struck by the attitude of his three friends, who gave him advice from their prideful perch. They critiqued the miserable state of Job’s affairs, relying on their self-inflated wisdom. Advice which helped Job not one whit. Pride has a way of Infiltrating the heart of man and undermining his credibility. This book has much to teach us.
A personal story will illustrate this point.
I was fourteen when we moved from a farm to the town of Warner, OK, population, 1500 or so. Farm life in the 50”s was a simple life of work, school, play and church. Woodall was a one room school for 8 grades which was ample for the 8-14 students who irregularly attended. The school house doubled as a church where I was saved by the Grace of God a few months before we moved to town. Jesus was a real and present companion during this time. I knew that He loved me.
Attending a city high school was an intimidating experience for me. All the more, since I felt out of place and didn’t make friends easily. Mother demanded good grades, which was ok with me since the school kids had their circle of friends and I didn’t fit. I sat on the front row with other serious students, mostly girls. Bill, Footsie and other popular boys sat in the back.
A few weeks after enrolling in a 9th grade math class, I was sitting in my usual place on the front row when I heard someone shout my name from the back row. I turned just in time to see Bill throw a piece of chalk at me hitting me on the nose. I jumped to my feet and angrily challenged him to meet me under the tree during lunch time. I immediately felt ashamed and knew I had made a mistake but my pride held me in its grasp.
Most boys in my class were 15 or 16. Bill was bigger and stronger than me, but I had my say and my pride drove me to the large Oak tree on the South side of the playground. I sat leaning against the tree with my friend, Pete who was a few years older who tried to get me to leave several times as we waited. But again, my pride ruled. Five minutes before the class bell, I looked up and saw Bill and two friends walking toward us.
I stood and waited. Bill walked up to me and said, “Do you still want to do this”. I said, “yes”. He hit me in the mouth and I fell. He was on top of me before I could move, penning my shoulders and pounding my face. After what seemed a long time, Footsie said “that’s enough”. And they left.
I sat there trying to make sense of what had just happened. Pete said let’s go home. We did.
After some time, I figured out what really happened.
When we left the farm, I left my intimate relationship with Jesus behind. I did not talk to Him about what I was doing or what my plans were. I knew He responded to me as a friend. For example, one time I had taken apart the rear axle of my bike and was putting the washers back on the spindle and had misplaced the main washer. After 5 minutes or so I panicked. I sat down on the ground and asked Jesus for help. After praying, I open my eyes and looked down and saw the missing piece in plain sight. That’s proof that Jesus was real. (This memory has been a sense of comfort for the past 69 years).
Some say that experience is the best teacher. I don’t think so. The best thing would’ve been to pause and think about what would Jesus would have done in this case. Something to remember.
Beware of my prideful thoughts and attitude. Be consistent everyday in developing and maintaining a relationship with the ever present God the Holy Spirit living within me.
Proverbs 8:13 – “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”
Proverbs 11:2 – “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.