More caught than taught

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. (Romans 15:2)

Have you ever considered your actions in light of what others see, hear, or feel as a result of those actions? It can be kind of scary at times to see actions through the eyes of others, mostly because it can lead to us being a little too 'comparison oriented' and it can result in some issues with pride on occasion. If we just compare our actions, excluding the heart from the picture, we might think our actions are a little better than another's. We run the risk of elevating our beliefs or actions above theirs - thinking THEY have room for improvement, but we are doing just fine. This is a very dangerous precipice from which to view life!

When we set out to live in such a way so as to be a 'help' to others - an example of God's goodness and grace - our heart is in the right place. Yet, it is quite easy to get a little too focused on our own goodness and forget that God's goodness is what matters. How do we go about 'helping others' without pridefulness entering into the mix? It might just be that we need to remove a few of our 'religious masks' in order for others to see we aren't 'perfect' or 'righteous' all of the time. Sometimes we fall flat on our faces just like they do, but we have learned how to take those failures to Christ, seek the lesson he will reveal to us as we do, and then start out again. 

Building each other up isn't about 'telling them how to live' as much as it is showing them how it is we have come to live in this relationship with Jesus. I think Jesus is most honored when we are genuine in our faith - living out the lessons he teaches without judgment of others who haven't come to the place where that lesson is made alive in their own lives yet. It is a very fine line between being an example and being judgmental of the actions of others. When we learn to look at our actions first - our heart attitude, thought life, and responses to events - we are well on our way to being positive examples to others without this spirit of judgment that enters in whenever pride begins to rear its ugly head.

The adage, "More is caught than taught", rings true here. John Maxwell puts it, "You can teach what you know, but you reproduce what you are." If your words don't match your actions, they won't hear you. Others repeat what we do more than what we say. God's hope is that we will lead lives that model a life without compromise. When we are focused on how much 'compromise' we see in others, we might just miss the volume of compromising decisions we are making ourselves. Just sayin!


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