One of the curses of our humanity is our propensity for one-upmanship. Our broken natures have meant we’re innately competitive and judging others comes seamlessly.
The greatest threat for the Christian, with the exception of backsliding, is having a superiority complex. It’s no novel problem. The newly converted Jewish believer in Early Church times possibly felt more ‘chosen’ by God than a Gentile was. They needed to be reminded:
“There is no one who is righteous, not even one...”
~Romans 3:10 (NRSV)
A Rightly Situated Perception Of Salvation
We’re quickly fooled regarding our rites of passage through the faith. We quickly externalise things of the moral and ethical world. We quickly judge.
Take the circumstances of the gay couple wanted to marry, the drug addicted, or the sexual offender. Or, going to religious extremes, let’s take the Muslim, the Hindu, or the Buddhist. None of these, and more, is any worse than the best Christian without Christ. There is no one who is righteous, not even one...
We can lose sight of this very basic fact of the faith in our going-out-and-coming-home lives. By our ignorance and arrogance, in our moments of not seeking God, we become profaners of God’s royal law and liberty to all humankind. The grace of God has come in the death and resurrection of his Son. And we limit this limitless grace every time we fail to love one of God’s own—every human being.
The Most Important Ingredient Of Living The Saved Life
Could there be a more important character ingredient than humility? That is, to know how close we were to death, and how close death appears again when we forsake Christ. We have nothing of our own, and never will.
The most glaring of all realities is a cosmic difference between God and all humanity. Nobody is righteous; only God. Only through the Son of God are we made free.
Humility is the process and endpoint making our faith operate on a level playing field. It sees the next person and thinks not better or less of them. Disregarding where they come from, their allegiances, their habits, and their dispositions, they are still, like us, children of God.
Living the saved life is never forgetting the eternal paradox: we deserved death yet were redeemed for life in Jesus’ name. This is not just an intellectual fact. We’re to incorporate such a fact into our everyday lives, by tolerance and patience and compassion and kindness and inclusivity. Nothing within the field of virtue is beyond us when we remain humble, clung to the truth.
We don’t need to wallow in our sin to remember, without Christ, we’re wicked.
Christian superiority forgets humility and grace—that we’re all sinners—and becomes Pharisaic. It creates divisions where love was meant to create unity. We ought to never forget, none are righteous. Without Jesus’ gracious sacrifice we’d all be lost.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.