Read Psalm 86
Focus on verse 11
Education is a word that broadly describes the process of learning. In some ways it can be a profoundly simple process, but as is typical of humanity, we complicate it when we fiddle with the process in an attempt to make it better.
It has been nearly fifty years since I entered the formal education system as a first grade student of a small rural Canadian schoolhouse. Since that time I have had a few very good teachers, a few very poor teachers, and a whole lot of teachers that where neither exceptionally good nor bad. The other thing I have noticed more since I went back to school as a teacher is that the amount of learning that takes place in the mind of a student depends about 20% on the ability of the teacher, and 80% upon the attitude of the student.
Students that really want to learn will do so with or without a teacher, while students who are only in class because they have been forced to be there, can have the best teacher and still learn very little. Now, I would add that a student who has a strong motivation to learn will learn more, and have a more positive experience with a gifted teacher, and a student who does not want to be in class might become motivated to learn by a teacher who makes the effort to determine what it takes to capture that student’s interest, so a gifted, motivated teacher has the potential to make a huge difference in the process of education.
Perhaps the most gifted teacher to ever live and teach on planet earth was a man by the name of Jesus Christ. Much of his teaching is recorded in the first four books of the New Testament. Jesus had a way of engaging people… even those who opposed his message. I suggest that he was the most gifted teacher ever because no other teaching has had the kind of ongoing effect on humanity as what he taught continues to have. He literally changed the world with his teaching despite the concerted efforts of many during his time as well as since then to attempt to discredit and eradicate his teaching.
The psalmist in today’s reading writes, “Teach me you way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.” The foundational purpose of education is to teach people the truth about the world in which they live. I realize that some might argue that the modern American educational system no longer teaches truth and they might be correct, however, I would suggest that what is being taught is being taught “as truth” and students are expected not only to believe it as truth, but to modify their actions to reflect what they believe as truth. This is why what is being taught across the nation in the public school system is being discussed so vigorously at nearly every level of the educational system. It seems that the educational system has deviated from its goal of teaching what is really true, to teaching as truth that which will give greater control to those who control the system…to continue controlling the system.
The bottom line is that understanding truth is one of the keys to true freedom, but there are some who have realized that free people are difficult to control. So if control is what one is after, one has to suppress truth.
Isn’t it interesting that God was never interested in controlling people? What is most tragic is when those who profess to follow God attempt to use God to control others. The Pharisees and religious leaders of Jesus day were doing this, which is what made Jesus seem so dangerous to them. They quickly realized that if the truth that Jesus taught were to be understood by the common people they (the religious leaders) would lose the power they had to control them. This has been the behind the scenes battle that has continued to rage from that day to the present. Satan has always used fear and deception to control people, and God has always used love and truth to set them free. In the final analysis love and truth will win the day. Historically fear and deception have had some times where it has appeared that they have won, but isn’t it interesting that after all these years they have not been able to destroy love and truth? I find great comfort in knowing that no matter how dark it seems to get, it only takes a glimmer of light to drive the darkness away. Truth has similar power over deception, when the light of truth comes on, the power of deception is broken.