The Art of Unlearning

Recently I’ve been thinking about how much we have to “unlearn” as human beings. In fact, I’d say it is an art to be able to unlearn things in life.

When you move into a new house you have to unlearn your old set of directions for driving home.  You have to unlearn bad grammar and misspellings for writing papers and letters.  You unlearn bad social habits and poor decision-making paradigms that you might have used in the past.

When it comes to disciplines like music or sports, You have to unlearn poor technique and practice habits to become a better performer.  It takes time, effort, and attention to detail; it’s an art form in itself to pick out the flaws and correct the incorrect.  You become aware of the need to change, remove the negative element in place, and substitute a positive element that will correct the flaw.

Tradition might be one of the biggest strongholds of learning.  We’ve learned a lot of bad ideas about faith, God, the Bible, people and just life in general.  We’ve allowed some of these ideas to define our faith instead of letting our faith define our ideas.

Some of these ideas start to take some serious root over the years and are bumping the lens of faith out of focus.  We’ve done things for the sake of “doing things” or done things because “that’s what we’ve always done” and it’s become this hollow practice of irrelevant motions.  Some of these ideas are poor interpretations or misconceptions, some of them are dated and irrelevant, and some are just flat-out lies and unbiblical.

This is where the art of unlearning comes into play.  We need to open our eyes to the possibility that some of the ideas that we feel the strongest about and are the most vocal about might be some of the biggest weeds in our spiritual hearts.  We have to step back and see if we can pick out where those bad ideas and misconceptions have taken root.  Pull them out, shake the dirt off their roots, and make sure they leave no seeds in their place.

We need to learn how to unlearn because it changes our entire paradigm.

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