I just got off the phone with a friend who, after pointing out some of my flaws (he was right, of course), immediately mentioned his own so as to put us on the same level. And let me tell you, from this side of the equation, that felt really good. It took a little of the pain of my screw-ups away. Not as an excuse, but as a process of identification. Suddenly we could identify with each other.
When someone points out your flaws, even in a constructive way, and walks away, you suddenly feel like you’re the only guy in the universe with this problem. You’re not even sure where to go to get help. You’re just left to mourn your own sin. But when the person who put a finger on the holes in your heart, points out the holes in his or her own heart in the process, suddenly you’re on the same level. You are both messing something up. And now, you don’t have a corrector, a perfect example, a judge or a taskmaster, you have a friend.
In this current series, we are seeking to familiarize ourselves with the teaching of Jesus. The reason for this is John 8:31-32 “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The end result is freedom; the process starts with holding to the teaching of Jesus.
Here’s what I surmise: Most Christians are only vaguely aware of the teaching of Jesus. My guess is that we are much more versed in the teaching of Paul than the teaching of Jesus. The teaching of Paul is systematic. It’s practical — much easier to follow than the teaching of Jesus. You can outline Paul; you can’t outline Jesus. Jesus deals with the heart. He cares about our attitude. Jesus cares that we are loving and serving each other, and He doesn’t tell us how to do it, He gives us pictures of Himself doing it and He tells stories to illustrate his teaching.
And this is one of the overlying factors of the teaching of Jesus: humility. It runs through everything. Blessed are the poor in spirit, choose the last place, go to the end of the line, blessed are the meek, wash each other’s feet, and on and on it goes, until you realize that Jesus gave us the ultimate example when He set aside His right to be God, and humbled Himself, taking on the form of a servant who was made in our likeness and came to serve and not be served.
It’s a good beginning to start with humility. It permeates the teaching of Jesus. Choose humility and you will always be on the right track.