Refining Life, on Purpose

Unlearning the Blame Game and Learning to Reframe

Unlearning is one of the ways Jesus discipled. As life refiners, we must unlearn as we learn are are developing into his perfected masterpieces

The concept of organizational unlearning came into my purview while studying for my master’s degree. It refers to “the discarding of old routines to make way for new ones.” When I applied that to my career experiences, I realized I was seeing it play out in some way daily. Since then, I’ve continued to consider it in other areas of life.

It came to light again as I considered the YLU17 topic – “Create a Future That Defies Present Circumstances.” As disciples who are learning, growing, and refining life, on purpose, there are several practical lessons. Here’s some thoughts.

Jesus Was Very Much About Unlearning

If you study the teachings of Christ, you’ll realize that learning wasn’t His primary goal. His primary goal was unlearning. He was reverse engineering religious minds. And those can be the toughest minds to change. – Mark Batterson – In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day p. 48

The Beatitudes probably seem to be very at odds with the world’s concept of what constitutes happiness. That’s because Jesus said those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, are meek, hungry and thirsty for righteousness are happy. He also said those who are merciful, pure in heart, peace making, persecuted, and reviled are happy.

Of course, the paradox here, is that things we usually consider miserable are really keys to happiness.

By my count, Jesus says “You have heard that it was said to those of old…” (or a variation of it) six times in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. What followed each of those pronouncements was a corrective notion meant to provoke unlearning.

Unlearning is one of the ways Jesus discipled. As life refiners, we must unlearn as we learn and are developing into his perfected masterpieces

Unlearning is one of the ways Jesus discipled. As life refiners, we must unlearn as we learn and are developing into his perfected masterpieces

He wasn’t setting out to dispute or change the Old Testament. No, Jesus provided a description of authentic righteousness for righting the misguided religion of the Pharisees. He was publicly denouncing their incorrect teachings while intending for the hearers to unlearn. As John MacArthur says, “He attacked their method of interpreting Scripture, their means of applying the law, their notions of guilt and merit, their infatuation with ceremonial minutiae, and their love for moral and doctrinal casuistry.”

The Right Attitude for Reframing

The attitude you have inside is more important than the circumstances that exist outside. So many people get caught up in those things they cannot control. Those things become chains of bondage, imprisoning them. It robs God because you allow yourself to be a slave to it.

Break free from those chains by reframing your focus. It means stop focusing on everything that is wrong, all that is bad, everything that happened. Once you’ve done that, now you can reframe it. Start focusing on what’s right. It begins with God.

Leave the past in the past. Put the pointing finger of blame down. Listen up! Your present circumstance may or may not make any sense, but thank God for it. Have confidence and peace in knowing that he is working his plan.

Go Forward… No Matter the Circumstance

As George Bernard Shaw suggested, if you get up and don’t see the circumstances you want, make them the way you want. Jesus came and showed the world what was being misguided in the world. He shifted our focus and reframed our understanding. That took unlearning, of course, and it always will involve some form of unlearning so long as we are growing and being perfected into his perfected masterpiece.

About Chad Gramling

Chad Gramling makes his home in Indiana with his wife and three daughters. He's the founder and primary blogger at 1Glories, a vision cast onto his heart and detailed in Listen Up Kids: Foolish Dreams, Syncing with God & Running to Win.