29 October 2008

A Slice of Humble Pie

Colossians 3:12: “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

I have been blessed all throughout my life. God has been good to me! I experienced several waves of turbulence, but that was due to poor choices I made over the years. I have, however, always lived in plenty and have never experienced an entire day in need. I’ve never once worried about where my next meal was coming from; in fact, I have never missed a meal because I didn’t have anything to eat. All of my needs and most of my wants have always been met.

Even though I was (usually) thankful for all things, I would put the emphasis on what I don’t have. My little house doesn’t have granite countertops, a formal dining room or a master bathroom. My economy car doesn’t have GPS, a DVD player or four-wheel-drive. I didn’t attend an ivy-league university and I don’t have a master’s degree. I don’t have any famous or incredibly wealthy friends. I was never completely satisfied; I always wanted more. I know I’m not alone with this type of mentality. There’s a big, huge crowd of us who yearn for what we don’t have and neglect to celebrate what we do have.

A few months ago, I was in the company of a group of brothers and sisters who haven’t enjoyed the same privileges as I have. That gathering was a big eye-opener for me. Jesus tells us to love the unlovable. The unlovable can be described as unattractive in appearance as well as unpleasant in mannerism. We are naturally drawn to things of beauty, and repulsed by things we find ugly. Sadly, people are judged by their appearance. Based upon their clothing and hair style, I made the judgment that none of these folks live in my neighborhood, they are poor, uneducated, of lower intelligence, down on their luck; they have struggled with alcohol and/or drug addictions, were the victims of domestic abuse, and have no families that have the desire or means to assist them.

Now, whether any of this is true or false is irrelevant. The point is that I judged these folks by their looks. I assessed each one of these people, all 15 or so in less than 30 seconds. By the time our gathering had ended, God put me in my place: He reminded me that I must have the mindset that I am the least amongst them. Since I was doing what others have done to me all of my life, I know first hand how hurtful and unfair that is. I shamefully admit that I should have been apologizing to them and pleading for their forgiveness for passing judgment on them. WWJD? Surely not what I did in my head and heart.

I’ve gotten to know some of them a little better. I see that yes I am the least. I attended college but they are graduates of the school of hard knocks. They have street smarts and would fare better in situations in which I’d certainly crumble. The adage “you can’t judge a book by its cover” is oh so true. You just don’t know anyone until you’ve opened your own heart and let them in.


Matthew 11:29 [Jesus said] “ … Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart…”

Proverbs 22:2
“The rich and poor have this in common: The LORD made them both.”

Psalm 138:6 “Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud.”

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