Letters from a Preacher’s daughter…the difference in hearing and understanding.
When you are what we in the South call “born in the pew” the other person knows what you mean. We might be the preachers kids, or the deacon’s kid, the janitor’s kids, the choir director’s kid…you see where this is going.
There is a category of children from my generation who heard God’s teaching or rather Theology from the day we were born. Our parents generation meant well and did the best they could. I truly am grateful for each and everyone of them…
We heard, Gods is Love, God is good, God created the whole world and holds it in his hands. We heard all the hymns and knew the books of the Bible by the time we were in Mrs. Nancy’s fourth grade Sunday School. We heard about sin and blood being shed for that sin by Jesus on a cross of shame and pain, we heard about Zacheaus who repented, we heard about David who fought Goliath the mammoth Philistine, we heard about Daniel who did NOT get eaten by Lions and his three friends who did NOT even smell like smoke when stepping out of the fiery furnace. We also heard about the great flood of Noah’s day and about Prophets who called down fire from heaven and stopped the rain for three years. Then, we heard more about Jesus healing the blind, healing the sick, being very wise and gentle but also kicking some but in the Holy Temple where men had set up scams to make money off of poor people all in the auspices of being a spiritual act that pleased God…whew, Jesus didn’t like that deal one bit and he let them know about it.
More things we church kids heard was about sin bringing death; not just physical death but spiritual death. We also heard a lot that we were sinners and would die without Jesus but you see their wasn’t “UNDERSTANDING”.
My point to all of that backtracking is to say that sometimes, or most of the time we “hear” examples without really understanding. For me, what I heard was that sin separates me from God and I must be dealt with…understanding that did not really “click” at five years of age so I kept praying my sinners prayers , walking down the aisle of church to try to fix this “thing” with Jesus and sin and death and shame but without understanding that I wasn’t understanding. I kept trying to earn more, listen more, do more but without that heavenly understanding that only God works in us and I realized I am one of the ones who put Jesus in the grave as well as if I had been standing on that narrow street in Jerusalem that day…
I am reminded that the week before Jesus was killed many were “HEARING” and shouting and singing Hosanna! He is the Messiah but many many more were just not “UNDERSTANDING”…
You see they heard His parables about His Father God’s plans but they could not really understand.
The understanding came when they saw themselves for who they really were. They were weak, they abandoned an innocent man, they got in a herd mentality and yelled, “Crucify Him” and even those who had been given more teaching than any other people still did not understand.
So, the take away message from this short missive is this…many hear but do not understand so we keep striving, behaving, praying, fretting, performing for God when He actually took all of that sin, death, and striving away. Our hopeless condition outside of Jesus Christ’s blood shed for us is exactly what put Him in the grave…the Good News is (me, you, our sin) could not keep Him there!