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Being teachable is a virtue. A disciple is someone who is willing to be taught, someone willing to be disciplined into a discipline. But that's hard. Proverbs 4:5 tells us,"Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them."

God teaches us through his Word, through his creation, and through the people he has placed in our paths, but we might not be listening. We don't want to change the way we do things. Rather than pursuing an abundant life in blessedness, we might dwell with these characteristics of unteachable behavior:

Unteachable people are impatient.

When I'm unteachable, I want results now. I don't want to have to explain it or wonder how another might do it. Everyone else is mostly an obstacle. Sometimes haste and focus are in order, but when I'm unteachable, this is my default mode of how I approach things.

Unteachable people are insecure.

When I'm unteachable, questions, other ideas, and contradictions scare me. I don’t want other opinions to be voiced. I see other ideas as a threat to my own rather than a sharing of experiences. Yet if my beliefs and ideas are solid, they can stand up to challenges. I can hear others' ideas without getting anxious.

Unteachable people lack empathy.

When I'm unteachable, I don't notice or wonder how others are reacting. At my worst, I don't really care what you're experiencing (because you're probably doing it wrong anyway). I don't wonder if this is working for you or others, especially if it's working for me. Maybe I can tell you how it should be for you, but I'm unlikely to invest in hearing another person’s story or point of view.

Unteachable people think that their way is the only way.

When I am unteachable, I get stuck in my rut and refuse to consider how things might be done in a different way. I am not asking questions, because I do not want to hear the answers. I miss out on seeing what the world looks like to others from different perspectives.

Unteachable people are intolerant.

When I am unteachable I choose not to look at the world beyond my experience so I miss the wider kingdom vision. I am so convinced that what I believe is right that I refuse to look at a situation from another perspective. I miss out on seeing the diversity and richness of God’s world because I am carrying such a narrow view of the world.

Unteachable people are bitter.

When I am unteachable, I get easily angered because the rest of the world doesn’t function the way that I think it should. When this is my normal way of living, I seem bitter and unhappy most of the time. I miss out on the joy of discovery and learning because I am convinced that I know all that that I need to know already.

Unteachable people are disruptive.

When I am unteachable, I interfere with the learning of others with my brashness. It is difficult for others to learn from one another if only one voice is heard. It is difficult to learn over a loud opinionated voice.

Adopt a teachable spirit in your life. Proverbs 9:9 tells us, "Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning." Do not let the characteristics of unteachable behavior take root in you. Choose to let Christ’s compassion be seen through you as you invest in the lives of others and hear their voices.

 

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