Don’t Question the Expert

For as far back as I can recall, being right has been important to me. You might say it has formed a significant part of my identity. I can remember being 10 or 11 and showing a friend how to pop popcorn (in those long-ago days before air poppers and microwaves). While the kernels burst in the sizzling oil and pinged against the lid of the pot, I told her I was going to write a book called Don’t Question the Expert, in which I planned to share all the things I was an expert at. (I may have been young, but apparently my self-concept was fully intact!) In any case, I’ve always wanted to be right, and most of the time I’ve thought I was. By default, I assumed that anyone who saw things differently than I did had to be wrong. 

But thankfully, God is committed to (and is a true expert at!) setting me free from the lies that prevent me from living like Him. A number of years ago, I was reading the Amplified Bible and 1 Corinthians 8:1 jumped right off the page at me. It said, “Now about food sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge [concerning this]. Knowledge [alone] makes [people self-righteously] arrogant, but love [that unselfishly seeks the best for others] builds up and encourages others to grow [in wisdom].” In that moment, the Spirit whispered to my heart that, in my need to be right, I was putting myself and my opinions before His highest priority: loving others. 

So, I’m on the long journey to learning how to love like Jesus does. Honestly, my first (usually internal) response is to evaluate the thoughts and beliefs of others, and often to land in a critical space. But more and more, I’m able to move beyond my insistence on being the “all-knowing expert” into caring more about the person than I do their opinions. Does this mean that I never disagree with others or that I never speak truths that aren’t popular? Not at all. But it does mean that I am much more likely to approach each conversation with humility, and an eagerness to understand rather than to judge. 

As it turns out, loving others is so much more satisfying than being an expert. 

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