Who Are You Better Than?
I told Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, that our curling season begins next week. We are hoping to be able to have an entire season of curling. All in our league must show proof that they are fully vaccinated. I told Ed that my curling is one more way of keeping me humble. My endeavors to shine at the game can be more like a blown-out light bulb than a bright spotlight.
I would say that Ed has a healthy pride in himself as a farmer, golfer, curler, and fisherman. Ed will share the achievements of his children and grandchildren compared to others. Ed says that sometimes he is the best or better than others in his farming, golfing, curling, and fishing. Ed respects himself and feels that he deserves to be respected. Such pride can be healthy but also very dangerous.
Pride quickly becomes like eating junk food. Such food is hard to stop eating once you start, and it is full of ingredients that are bad for you and addictive to your taste buds. Pride is also called self-esteem, and people do overdose on self-esteem. Too much self-esteem means you begin believing that you are more important or better or superior to others and gradually move on to thinking you are better than other people.
The disciples of Jesus argued about who among them was the greatest. Jesus used a small child to teach his disciples who were flawed with pride. The disciples were blind and stuck in their superior feelings towards children. They dismissed children as inferior to themselves because of their age.
Jesus understood that his disciples had a feeling of being better than each other as his disciples. They focused on how they were different rather than how they were all equal before Him. It is easy to look at others and compare who is better than and less than, in our opinion. The disciples did not see their own faults and flaws as if they did not have any or very many.
Pride was a fault that was not easily corrected in Jesus’ disciples, who were focused on themselves. Nevertheless, Jesus said regarding the child before them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” (Mark 9:37)
Seeing oneself as equal to or equal with others is not readily done by many folks. Can we respect ourselves if we see ourselves as no better than others? Do we need to feel superior to others? Is everyone equal in the eyes of God? Yes! We are all flawed by sin and in need of a Savior before God!
People want to be the best, be first, be recognized, and be served. Being no better than others, coming in last, and willing to be a servant of all is what Jesus lovingly did for all others. Jesus came from God not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. Jesus came and served and saved sinners. In selfless love, Jesus humbled himself as God’s suffering servant dying on the cross for our sins. (Philippians 2:5-8) Will you humbly serve others or serve yourself with pride?