Small group discussions are always a bit uncomfortable for me. No, it's not that I don't like sharing or hearing what other people have to say. I love being a part of deep conversations about God, and I love hearing other peoples' different perspectives or new insight about spiritual things.
The issue is that, when I was young, my very knowledgeable Christian mother taught me almost everything she knew about the depths of the Bible and theology. I was homeschooled by the same mother during junior high and high school, and have continually engaged in intense discussions about the details of scripture. In other words, I know a lot.
And I am not the only one. In the larger group discussions I have recently participated in, there is usually at least one other person who is sitting there with hand raised and the facial expression like they are going to explode, because they know the answer and aren't being called on since they answered the last three questions.
No one will come out and say anything to make fun of the small group theologian. But I still find myself feeling awkward and slightly embarrassed when I have the answer to almost every question, and even more so when my answer sounds so scholarly and confusing that the other people at the table look like I was telling them about quantum physics.
This shouldn't be. It seems like I should be ever confident and never uncomfortable about having a relatively deep understanding of Scripture.
The problem is that I don't want to be seen as a know-it-all.
For all my life, I have been tagged as the "smart one." "Oh, he knows so much!" people will exclaim. "He's so smart!"
Well, what they didn't see was how dense I really am when I come to using that knowledge. What I have in the ability to retain knowledge I lack in the ability to understand verbal instructions or use intuition to solve problems on the fly. I can go from being the sharpest tack to the dullest in a heartbeat.
What I found was that people stopped at my smarts and wouldn't look past them to see the reality of who I am. I am a person like everyone else, with my successes and failings, my skills and the areas in which I lack.
People don't tend to like know-it-alls. They can be intimidated by them, or they just find them annoying or condescending.
I don't want to be seen as a know-it-all. I want people to see me as a normal person as I really am.
Except in the areas of the Bible.
I am perfectly okay with having extensive knowledge about God's Word. I teach everybody all the time that we were meant to know God's Word better than any other knowledge we may possess. I use the opportunities when I have the answers to teach the others around me the truths of God and the testimonies of what He has done.
I may feel uncomfortable at times. But I am never ashamed.
Consider the selected words of the psalmist in Psalm 119 (NIV):
97 Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey your precepts.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
There is nothing sweeter than the knowledge of God. Remember, God's Word isn't just a text; knowing God's word is one in the same with knowing God Himself. We should never tire of wanting to know more about God!
So, fellow "know-it-alls," speak confidently! Be bold with the words you speak, because you may speaking the words of life to a needing soul.
And to those who are just learning, keep pursuing God! You will never regret knowing God more. And you will also never run out of things to learn either. God is greater than our minds can ever fathom.
What a privilege it is to be able to know my Maker and Savior.