I received a good “Gibbs’ smack” to the back of the head today. A young woman passed by me. She was well-dressed, hair coiffed, the whole manicured picture. On the other hand, I am wearing a t-shirt, flannel, jeans, and gym shoes. I don’t go to get my hair done anyway, I generally don’t wear nail polish, I might wear mascara…you get the picture.
I admit that I do not understand dressing that way, it isn’t part of my world at all. Plus, high heels would be foolish on a farm. At that point I should have just let the differences pass, but my mind went further.
I started to criticize her. I don’t know her, her story, why she was dressed the way she was today. She is a stranger to me.
But, wow, I started digging into her with a sharp spade. Each thought I had was darker, meaner, than the next. That’s when I felt the smack.
I was looking at her as being less than me in some way. When I realized that my heart was acting so ugly I asked God to forgive me. She was just as important to God as I will ever be.
When my heart starts looking at people as less than me, I am in danger of thinking that I am better and somehow deserving of God’s grace and mercy in my own life.
Very dangerous thinking indeed.
I am reminded of Jesus’ story about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14 and who I really am when no one is looking.
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
O Best Beloved, what is your perspective? Are you looking at the world as the Pharisee or are you being honest? We don’t deserve anything good from God. We aren’t good at all without Him in our lives growing us to be more like Him.
We can find the right way to see this world when we see it through the life of Christ.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11).