Blog, Influencers Devotionals

You Don't Have to Understand to be Understanding by Rocky Fleming

August 2, 2022

“Wait!  Say what?”   If that’s your response to the title of this blog then join the club, for that’s what I said to the Lord when He whispered those words to my heart.  It also resonated in me a truth that I needed and wanted to understand, for you see there is truth that is often hidden from plain view and to understand these hidden truths we have to be open to them when He sends them.  Now like most men I feel strongly about what I know to be true.  Nothing new there.  But do I also feel as strongly about those things I don’t know … that I’m ignorant of?  Am I as passionate about allowing God to reveal hidden truths to me, even though I don’t understand them at the time?  I must be if I want to be a wise man.  A biblically wise person is mistakenly known most of the time by the biblical truths that he or she knows, and how they apply to lives.  But that is a limited view of a biblically wise person, for a truly wise person realizes that there is much that he or she doesn’t know and they must be a learner, a seeker, and to embrace fresh thoughts and new ideas that God gives them.  Do these new ideas and thoughts radically change and redirect this person?  Rarely are these people radically changed, for these new thoughts are built on a foundation of truths that were previously revealed.  They simply edify what they know, and they fine-tune the person.  This is a consistent work of the Spirit as He is always coaching us up and helping us to be a better version of our self.  Such was the case with me when I heard those words.  To understand this, I need to give you some back story and reveal that I’m not as gracious with people and things that violate my pet peeves as I should be.  Thus, the Spirit has been coaching me up with just such a case in point.  So here goes.

My wife Sallie is as about as wonderful as a human can be.  But not with parking in our garage.  She stinks at it, and on several occasions, I’ve let her know it.  Now to be honest, before we downsized to a condo, she had large three car garages to park in.  She had loads of room front and back and side to side.  She could almost park with her eyes closed and be ok.  Then came our present garage.  For three years I’ve been trying to help her hit her spot, for there is so little margin to work with front and back and side to side.  I’ve tried putting a tennis ball tied to a string from the ceiling to touch a spot on her car telling her to stop, which she misses.  I’ve tried putting a flashing stop sign in front of her car that flashes when the car bumper hits it, only to find it knocked down and driven feet forward of her mark.  I’ve put rubber floor wedges to stop her front wheels from going too far, only to have her miss them right or left or fail to go forward enough.  The last miscalculation caused the garage door to drop on her car causing some minor damage.  So, you get the idea what I’m dealing with and the exasperation I’m feeling.  On several occasions I would say to her, “I don’t understand how to help you park your car in the garage.  Help me understand!”  It was on a similar incorrect parking alignment that I looked at how far she missed her marks and before I reacted again, I heard, “You don’t have to understand to be understanding,” and it hit me right where it was intended.  It went right to my heart.  I knew immediately that I was being coached up by Jesus with something that I didn’t know and needed to understand.  Maybe it will open you up for some new understanding?

Hopefully you are connecting the dots with this message from God to us in this blog that it is about a hidden truth, for it’s not about parking a car or being a typical male with my quirks about garage order.  It’s much deeper and more important.  So, let’s talk about it.

There are so many things now days that clash with how Christians are raised, trained, taught and believe.  There are political, racial, cultural and a plethora of differences that we don’t understand, but we are bombarded with them constantly and feel forced to embrace.  We are forced to leave our comfortable neutrality and stand with one group or another, but rarely do we understand who we are standing with or who we are standing against.  As a result, we become like me and my experience with Sallie’s parking by throwing up our hands and exclaiming, “I don’t understand what you are saying!  I don’t understand where you are coming from!”  I can use only one point as an example, which is the racial tension we feel in this country.

I’ve never lived one day of my life as a black man.  But I know from some of my black friends that there has been hurt, a history of abuse, and a lot of wounds of the past that they have to navigate today.  I see hurt, pain, unforgiveness and anger.  I will never understand what they have been processing in their lives as black men, for I am not one.  But the Lord tells me that I don’t have to understand to be understanding.  Likewise, I’ve never known one day of my life not as an American citizen.  I’ve rarely known what it means to be without a job and desperate to find one in a country of hope and promise.  I’ve not been afraid for my children and grandchildren to have limited prospects for a good education, a good job, and to live in a country without law and order.  I don’t know what it’s like to flee from a country ruled by tyrants or fascists, or drug cartels.  But I have immigrant friends who have shared their fears and their desire to live in my country because of the good things it represents to them.  I don’t understand what they’ve gone through.  But I’m understanding when I hear from them why they want to be here.  Is that what Jesus is saying?  We don’t have to understand to be understanding.  These are only two examples of many differences that I do not understand.

I believe that we live in difficult times and if Christ is not the answer and Christians are not the model of His love and broad acceptance of people that we do not understand, what are we doing here?  Are we willing to make a difference and live our lives by His truths and ways and mission, or do we require people we don’t understand to be discarded as an “inconvenience” to us?  I tell you folks.  I think the Lord is making it clear to me that I don’t have to understand a lot about a person to understand that he or she needs Jesus.  I need to make it about Jesus.  I need to forget about the differences with people that I don’t understand and go to the heart of their needs, which is His love to them and show them Jesus by His presence in my life.

Back to the garage.  I know you are asking about what’s next.  I’ve got a new understanding.  It is this.  Sallie can’t park her car.  It’s a fact.  So, rather than make a big deal of it I plan to quietly get her keys and repark it for her, as if she got it right the first time.  That’ll make her feel good and take the pressure of her and me.  Funny thing.  I hear another message from Jesus.

“Now you understand.”