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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Crippling Help

This is probably a corollary to yesterday’s post.  Have you ever read or heard the story about the man who was watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon?  He watches the insect attempt to get out of a tiny hole.  With compassion he attempts to help by cutting the cocoon open.  The result?  Without the struggle the butterfly’s wings are not fully developed.  The butterfly is crippled by the man’s help and is never able to fly.
Crippling Help
Yesterday I suggested that we may be in a situation similar to that which existed around the time of the start of the Reformation.  Similar, in that the Bible, while now available to most all of us, is not studied deeply except by pastors and seminary professors.  As I shared there are those leaders who suggest that as believers we should come to church and listen to the expert and then apply what the expert tells us.

If it was not clear from yesterday’s post, I consider that to be an abhorrent misreading of the Biblical text and mandate given by our Lord in Matthew 28:18 – 20.  All of us as believers are responsible to study our Bibles and apply what we learn there to our lives.

For those of us who are privileged to lead others in this journey, our task is to equip those the Lord has given us too lead to study and apply the Bible.  In that process it is not important what one knows.  What is important is helping those in one’s charge learn to dig out and apply the truth for themselves.

I am often asked for answers to help a brother or sister understand a passage of Scripture.  I rarely will answer such a question.  Frankly, it doesn’t matter that I know the answer.  What matters is helping that person at that time progress in their ability to discover the answer for themselves.  So my response to a question like that is usually something like, “What are some of the answers to that question that you have considered?” and then, “Which of those do you think answers the question most completely?”  and finally, “How did you come to that conclusion?”

Helping a person struggle through the text properly is helping them grow their wings in their study of the Bible.  To give them the answer, even a well-crafted and Biblically supported answer, is cutting open their cocoon and crippling their ability to stand alone in the text.

It does not seem that our assignment from the Lord is to make cripples.