I think often times we look down on other people as being below us. We let them slide on by or condemn them because we believe their “moral values” are beneath our own. It might be that we’ve been a devout Christian our entire life and this other person hasn’t. Somehow we think that because we’ve known God longer, we’re somehow better than every new brother and sister in Christ. It may just be that another person is dirty or poor and we assume that’s the complete, total, and absolute sum of their worth. It may be because society paints a picture of the way they live as “more wrong” than the way we live. For instance, the world believes that physically injuring someone is “more wrong” than breaking a promise and breaking a promise is “more wrong” than telling a white lie. It’s a hierarchy of wrongness that’s ingrained in us all, but unfortunately it’s wrong.
We can’t continue to get caught up in the “I’m-better-than-you” world we live in because in the end all sins are equally weighted. This broken, wordly mindset forces us to overlook the beauty in the simple-minded, weak, and lowly people and places of the world in a futile attempt to make ourselves feel better. It closes our mind and the minds of these “lowly” others to their full potential, for the sake of our short-lived boost of self esteem.
You see, that same self-esteem could be boosted even higher and for a longer period of time if we switch our mentality. If we built up that person instead of comparing our life to theirs, they may go on to do incredible things. You could sit back and say, “Wow, I helped change the world,” and that’s one good mood booster if you ask me.
There’s loads of examples of this same idea detailed in the Bible. In
1 Corinthians 1:27-28 it says, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are…” God consistently builds up the least likely people and uses them to change the ways of the world. One such story is one of Rahab in the book of Joshua. Rahab was a prostitute, one of the lowliest jobs then, now, and the entire time in between.
But God sees her differently.
Rather than label her as useless and sinful, He looks upon her as His daughter. He uses her to save His sons from death because she is lovable, even with the societal label of “prostitute.” In fact, God loves her so much that He delivers her and her family from the burning city of Jericho where everyone else chose to condemn her and look away from God. Unlike those crispy-fellows from Jericho, however, God chose not to overlook Rahab. He knew that she still had strengths, still maintained faith, still was His daughter. He worked through her to save His people.
And He wants work through you, and me, and your best friend, your mom, dad, brother, sister; through the goths and the druggies, the jocks and the nerds; through the anonymous yik yakkers and well-known musicians. The list is endless – literally endless, because ultimately God wants to work through all of us.
What’s even cooler is that Jesus himself follows this same, crazy pattern. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Creator of the Universe, the Alpha and Omega. This guy’s Dad made the Earth, the Universe, the Heavens, me and you – he easily could have sent his son down in a brand new Mercedes wearing the newest Ray Bands and Ralph Lauren clothing. He easily could have become ruler of the Earth with the snap of his fingers. But He didn’t, and that’s why God’s so cool. At the time Jesus was due to be born, the King, Herod, feared this “newborn King” and ordered that all young first-born sons in Jerusalem be murdered. Through an incredible turn of events, however, God chose to send Mary and Joseph all the way to Nazareth on an ‘ass’ (that’s a long, long walk with one stanky animal, folks). They get there, Mary is very, very, very pregnant and needs a place to have this baby now. Problem is everyone says they’re full, except for one man who says he has room in his stable. Now this is a smelly, dirty, dung beetle paradise built for animals – but it would also be the birthplace of the man that would change this sinning world forever. It says a lot about Jesus if you think about it. He starts out being born into a feeding trough in a war-torn, genocidal nation seeking to destroy Him – one of the lowliest ways to be brought into the world if you ask me. Yet Jesus ends up as the most well-known religious figure in history. I mean, come on, the entire calender is based off when He was born and when He died; no one else that ever lived can put that on their resume.
That’s what’s so cool and so different about God’s love. He loves the weak, broken, lowly people of this world. He needs no glory from us; we’re undeserving of His love; we’re damaged sinners destined for suffering; but He chooses us to help Him revolutionize the world.
So the next time you catch yourself looking down on someone else’s choices, know that God loves them just as much as you. Know that He has a plan for them bigger and better than anyone can fathom. Know that we all sin differently and the same. Know that He tells us all, especially those in unfortunate circumstances, “…I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11).