I think my parents did a pretty balanced job of raising me. I was taught that no one was better than me, and that I am no better than anyone else. A while back I was listening to a documentary on NPR , talking about how awkward it was for people who served as maids and butlers to become successful and turn around and have their own maids and butlers. To me it would not be awkward at all. I have actually had to hire a temporary housekeeper at times when I became so busy with multiple jobs. There were also times when I did some housekeeping or landscaping work myself to make extra money. When I was working for someone in their home I never thought of them as better than me, and when someone was working in my home I never thought I was better than them. I just thought we were all just helping each other out as we made our way through life.
However some people are tempted to think they are better than others. Having worked with youth and families in churches and schools I have learned there are two types of parents. One type of parent teaches their kids not to act like they are better than anyone else. The other group teaches their kids they aren’t better than anyone else. Even with my professed balanced upbringing, I have had to tell myself, “If I shouldn’t say something condescending then I should not even think it.”
Here are some ideas that keep me humble as if all my mistakes and failures were not enough.
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1 John 4:20 NKJV
I understand the word “love” here is “agape.” Agape is the love God has for bad people. Of course God is good so he does not need our agape, since He actually earns our love. So what I understand John saying here is this, “If you say would agape God and love Him even if He was bad, prove it by loving your brother who really is bad. Speaking on this passage I once heard Wintley Phipps say, “Our love for God is no stronger than the love we have for the person we love the least.”
How could I be too good to love someone who Jesus loves?
Speaking of the least, Jesus says,
‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Matthew 25:40 NKJV
Jesus gave His life for sinners. If the least of sinners needs my time and help, and I shrug them off as not worth my time or money then I have just put myself above Jesus. No matter how smart, rich or talented I think I am, if I think a sinner is not worth my time and effort after Jesus gave His life for them, then I must think I’m greater than Jesus!
For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Hebrews 2:16 NKJV
How could I be too good to help someone who Jesus helps?
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NKJV
How could I be too good to die for someone who Jesus died for?
Our attitude towards the least of these shows our attitude towards Jesus.
You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.