I just don’t understand! This is often a thought that leads to Passive behavior.
“Not understanding” is an almost airtight excuse for “Not acting.”
Who can blame someone for doing nothing, when they ” don’t understand?”
Ignorance after all does have some perks, it often functions as a
“get out of jail free card” in the game of Life. All of this is tied
to our belief that we cannot act on that which we do not fully
understand. It seems reasonable and rational to order things this
way. But, what if we don’t have to fully understand to take action?
What if there are some things we will only understand after we take action?
Jana Reiss, in her book Flunking Sainthood discusses a passage of Old Testament scripture taken from Exodus chapter 24.
Moses is getting ready to read the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel.
There is a curious line in verse 7 where the people respond by saying
“ All that God has spoken we will do and we will hear.”
It seems a little backwards. The doing (to act on something) comes before
the hearing (to understand something). This backward sounding statement suggest an important truth,
sometimes, Action precedes Understanding.
Only by Acting on the words God has spoken,
can we come to truly hear and understand the truth of those words in our lives.
We must Practice the truth before we fully Understand it.
We will never understand forgiveness by reading books on forgiveness,
but if you ask for forgiveness and give forgiveness you will come to understand
the cost, the depth, the power, and the beauty that is all part of forgiving.
The most important and foundational things in our lives (grace, love, marriage, faith and parenting)
all require a Leap of Action to fully understand and appreciate.
So are you lounging or are you leaping as a dad?
If your teenage daughter tells you that, ”you just don’t understand!”
You should probably agree with her, most likely she is right.
But please know that your presence is more important than your understanding.
Do your very best to understand, but do not go away, shutdown, or go passive
because you cannot figure out or sort out all that is going on in her
head and her heart. Tell you that you don’t understand,
tell her that you are not sure how to help,
and then tell her that nothing she ever says or does will drive you out of her life.
Tell her that she is stuck with your awkward, fumbling and stumbling,
not really understanding efforts to know her and love you.
Good dads do not always understand, good dads just refuse to quit when they don’t.
Real love is stubborn it never gives up. Let’s bring the real stuff to our families and to our daughters this week.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Don Worcester