Do we really mean it when we say we want to learn from others instead of having to do through the experience of it ourselves? If we do mean it, why so we so often still go through the same thing and make the same mistakes ourselves? Why does it seem to be so hard to learn from other's experiences?
I've been thinking about these questions for a while. I'm currently working through Beth Moore's study on the book of Daniel with a group of ladies at my church and in a couple of spots in the weekly homework she has talked about learning the lesson from someone else's experience, rather than learning it through our own experience. King Nebachadnezzar of Babylon offers us a couple of examples we would do well to learn from his experience rather than our own. (I won't be getting into them in this blog, but you can read about some of them in Daniel 3 and 4.) As I read and study these passages, my desire is to learn from them so I never have to experience them myself. That would be much easier and more pleasant.
This is my second time doing this particular study and as I dig in again, I find that although I may have wanted to learn the lesson by reading about it and studying it, I didn't always do so. In the years between when I first did this study and now, I've had to learn some of the exact things spoken about in Daniel through my own experience. I didn't intend to, but that is the way the lessons actually stuck in my life.
It makes me wonder why that seems to happen so often in our lives. We don't just seem to fail to learn from other's bad experiences about things we need to avoid because they are sin. We can also fail to learn from other's experiences about things we need to embrace in our lives. Our lives are far too short to learn everything for ourselves, but it seems like that is often how we try to do it.
The big question I have is: Why? Why does it seem to be so difficult for us to learn from other's experiences? We desire to. We even do sometimes. But we could spare ourselves a lot of pain in life if we learned from every other person's experience all the time, rather than just sometimes. I don't know why this is so hard. All I know is that the things that have really stuck for me are the things I learned from my own experience. And I'm still left to wonder why I don't learn better from others.
I don't have an answer for this. I would love to hear you thoughts on this one.