We are often faced with choices, which path to take, which response to make…
Some texts that stood out to me in my daily Scripture reading are more difficult to swallow than others because they cause me to pause and reflect.
We live in a divisive age, an age of accusation and bitterness, of acrimony and the taking of sides. There’s a real “I’m right and you’re wrong” thing going on all around us.
Present company included.
This divisive, ‘I know better than you’, perspective is nothing new. In the earliest church it existed between people over food and other divisive issues. Paul talked about it to the Corinthians and then to the Romans. In Corinth it was an existing problem, when he wrote to the Romans, he saw fit to include it as a general teaching under the greater heading of love. He said:
“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.'” (Romans 15:1-3 ESV)
These verses struck me as I read them because, in his wisdom, M’Cheyne* matched this chapter in the daily reading with Mark 15. Mark tells us of the death and burial of the Lord Jesus, who, we remember well, cried out:
“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”” (Mark 15:34 ESV)
He was forsaken because he had taken sin upon himself… the attitudes of: “I’m better than you.” “I’m right, you’re wrong.” These attitude make us look down on others and make us feel better about ourselves. In other words, my sin of thinking of myself more highly than I should (see Romans 12:3). Yes, sin. Putting someone down is sin.
God have mercy.
Paul’s inspired words from the 1st century are helpful for the 21st century disciple.
May we heed this call to humility in our conversations, our communication, and our online interactions. May we emulate Jesus. May we build up others rather than ourselves. May we repent.