Wouldn’t it be great if we could learn all the lessons we need to learn without having to make the mistake in the first place? Maybe someone could come out with a video game that would teach everyone all the lessons they need to know in life. I wonder if anyone would play it? I suppose the game would have to be programmed to create the foolish feelings, or else it would not have a lasting teaching effect.
Until the game comes out, I’ve figured out that I can learn from other people’s foolish mistakes, so I don’t have to suffer the same way. I can even learn by watching people who do crazy things on TV and hurt themselves in the process. That’s one reason I don’t grind skateboards down stair railings. I don’t have to experience it to know it can be painful.
Something else I don’t want to learn is how to destroy my life with crack cocaine. I’ve travelled to many parts of the world and found that there are only a few words that are the same in any language – “crack” is one of them. I was just in Central America over the summer and met a young man in a substance abuse rehab center, who is going through the trauma caused by crack. He had met an American woman, fell in love, married her and they had a child together. He got messed up on crack and deported. His wife fell ill and their child was taken by the U.S. authorities. After accepting that the mother was not going to get well enough to take care of the child, it was put up for adoption, while the father was in rehab. The poor man was distraught. He lost his home, his family, his child – all for a moment of worldly pleasure.
The man who ran the rehab center had a similar story about his life with alcohol. He had come clean many years before and opened this center for men who needed a place to get free of addictions and get fed God’s Word. Often, we learn best from people who have experienced the same thing we are going through.
I have a profound respect of people who have suffered, recovered, and then reach back and help someone else through the same problem. I’ve even come to respect some of the people I’ve learned from, who have taught me to not even look down certain roads that lead to disaster.
In many of our lives there are a couple of people we can look to and even need to honor for showing us the correct way - Mom and Dad. The Fifth Commandment says “Honor your father and mother.” The wise man Solomon said “My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother;” (Proverbs 1:8).
How many things did they teach you about right and wrong? Sometimes, I think I learned more from the things they did, than the things they said. If you are a parent, are you behaving in a manner that is worthy of honor, or are your children learning things from you that may destroy their future, or lead them into temptation.
None of us have perfect parents, so consider these words “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God…” (1John 3:1).
We all have a Father in Heaven who is worthy of all honor and glory and praise. Hear His instructions. Do not forsake His commands. He has given us much to learn and meditate on.
Pastor Jay Merritt