Back To School

From my friend (long-time school teacher) Rich Dixon:


In the aftermath of the cross, I’m thinking about planks and specks.

Jon talked last week about the catastrophe Jesus’ friends experienced as He was arrested, tried, and executed. It’s one of those things we brush aside when we study scripture. Because we’re looking for the big lessons, the “important” stuff.

But – what if empathy is the important stuff? More about that in a minute.

In my early years as a follower of Jesus, I was pretty hard on the disciples. They received three years of intensive personalized instruction from the world’s best teacher, and they failed the test. Betrayed, denied, deserted.

Except – they didn’t fail. Thursday wasn’t the final exam. Class didn’t end on Easter weekend.

Jesus’ friends became lifelong learners and teachers. They shared their insight and hindsight, their failures and struggles.

And even with the benefit of their wisdom and experience, I still mess up and fall short. Even knowing all I know, after all this time, in my comfortable circumstances – I still miss Jesus when He’s right beside me.

So perhaps I ought to give Jesus’ friends a break. Perhaps, in the aftermath of the cross, I should try to walk in their shoes and understand what they experienced in those horrible moments.

What if empathy is essential? What if walking in their shoes is the only way to understand what really happened on that weekend and in the days that followed? What if the whole thing was mostly about human connection?

Instead of seeking some deep theological lesson, perhaps we ought to begin with, “What was it like for them?”

Come to think of it, “What was it like for them?” might be a good opening question for most situations.

Might help me focus more on the plank in my eye and less on the speck in yours.