Saturday, September 12, 2009

Learning from experience

This week's Topical Blog is on the subject of always learning. To learn is "to gain knowledge or skill from study, instruction or experience."

Experience - that's a good one! It's been said that experience is the best teacher. Who hasn't had an experience that he hasn't learned something from? Simple things, such as don't wear shorts going down a metal slide in the heat of summer. That you should put enough postage on the envelope when you mail your bills two days before the due date. That changing the oil in your car is important. That you should be very cautious when asking for "spicy" food at a Chinese food restaurant. That you can't get a sealed bottle of water past security at the airport, unless it is three ounces or less. Beware of the train robbers at Knott's Berry Farm (that's how I met my husband)!

Just as effective as learning from our own experience is learning from the experiences of someone else. For example, I learned that getting drunk at a party makes you do stupid things you would never do sober. I learned that important files on a computer should have a back-up copy. That adjustable rate mortgages weren't necessarily a good idea.

The Bible is full of lessons to be learned from the experiences of other people. Adam and Eve's failure to obey God's command teaches us that our sins have consequences. Abraham and Sarah learned that God is faithful in keeping His covenant. Late in Genesis, Joseph learned that there are people who try to kill our dreams, and quite often they are the people who are closest to us. We learn from Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes that living for this world leads to emptiness.

And there are good things that we can learn from people in the Bible as well. The Samaritan woman that Jesus encountered at the well brings us the lesson that Jesus knows everything about us, but doesn't hold it against us. The lesson of the woman who is caught in the act of adultery and is about to be stoned to death by her accusers is that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. He doesn't scold us, asking, "Why did you go and do that, you idiot?" but rather, he tells us, "Go, and sin no more."

There are many, many more things we learn through the experiences of others that are recorded in the Bible. What are some of the lessons you have learned?

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1 comment:

Oy vey said...

Excellent post! Trouble with many of us is this: We don't always learn from others' experience, only our own, sadly.