A recent video I had viewed of a woman being upset over having to sit next to a man who is a Trump supporter had me shaking my head in disbelief. The woman was seated next to the man on a plane. She was demanding before takeoff to flight personnel that he be relocated to another seat, simply because she did not support Donald Trump. Ironically, she was then asked to leave the plane. The way she had thought the outcome would be, ended up being the complete opposite. She did not expect to be the one who would be relocated.
How often we have envisioned something that did not, “go as planned.”
There was a time, early within my walk with the Lord, where things did not go as I had planned. It was a desire of mine to please the Lord, and that desire began a period which brought about so much undesirable harm. The opposite of what I had envisioned. Subsequently, the desire turned into a religious righteousness. I, much like the woman on the plane, became a pompous man. One who expected much. My pompousness was reinforced and backed with the righteousness of the Lord. I was now a man of God, and I now had a rank above others. The highest of ranks!
The things that I expected were many. If I were on a plane and a Buddhist monk had sat next to me, my religiosity would have sent me into an emotional frenzy. All sorts of things would go through my head: ‘No Christ in Him! Wrong God! Devil at work! Bad person! I’m right and he is wrong! I cannot believe he cannot see the truth! What a lost man! There is nothing well within him!!’ No one would have been able to convince me that he was any different than how the woman had seen the Trump supporter: WRONG! My attitude, within my righteous view of self, would have been justified by pointing out Scripture verses. I could and would have torn the man apart with Gods’ demands. Duties. Guilt. Slandering. Anger. I would have glorified my pride.
The prideful ways in which I would use His Word to tear into others was a huge obstacle within my faith. This unrecognized pride was almost the very thing that would have made me into a modern-day Pharisee, but the Lord changed that. He removed me from the environment and showed me His true nature. A truth that did not involve any kind of self-righteousness.
My biggest problem was the false teachers that I had been following. Following men verses Holy Spirit. I had not yet learned that very few are truly letting the Spirit lead and feed, but rather allowing “self” to do it for them. When men have a poor understanding of His truth, all sorts of problems meander. If one does not have a good grip on the teaching of His Word and Spirit, the pride of self quickly takes hold. It doesn’t take long for the fallen man to lead. It doesn’t take much for “self” to believe that he or she is better. Humility, kindness, and the fruits of His Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) are thrown to the wayside, and the many increments of pride are, unknowingly, placed above the Lord.
We do not know what the man who was sitting next to the woman on the plane has within His heart. He may have a ministry. He may take 50% of his earnings and contribute it to the missionaries in Ethiopia. The Buddhist may have a kind word to say. We cannot just go around and justify our rudeness by backing it up with the Bible.
Heaven’s value system is nothing like the world’s. The world’s is so incredibly flawed with sin. As Jesus had said, “many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first,” in context to the rich young ruler (Matt. 19:16-30), and then reiterated in the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matt. 20:16). The man on the plane may have a place in heaven, nowhere close to the self-righteous woman. A man who grieves and is a bit snippy may have a place, much higher, than a man who tells him that his faith needs to improve in order for the grief to subside. It is not up to us to be righteous, using the name of the Lord in vain as we justify our reasoning for being high-handed.
I pray this morning that we humble ourselves before the Lord. That we choose to see Christ in all of His children, whether they choose to follow Him or not. I pray that we stop to pray for those who are in need of our Lord, and that our acts and words of kindness are abundantly given to all of those we encounter, no matter what they choose to believe. I pray that His light and wisdom shines through us. In Jesus’ name.
No one is righteous. Not one. We are full of the pride which began in Eden, and we are always fighting our way through that same spiritual battle. Wouldn’t it be wise to call upon Him before giving into our pride?