Not Impressed, Not Ashamed
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,”
Two antithetical ideas that plague the human nature are; I am great and I am nothing. Both are problematic, both are rooted in pride, although cloaked in superiority and humility. To say I am great, is to believe that in my humanity that I am at the top of some mount of my particular choosing. Which is only a rendering as good as my imagination or limited knowledge. And to say that I am nothing is to say that I am at the bottom of the mount or maybe even beneath it. Which fails to see my created purpose.
Take a homeless man for instance. He may think, because of his circumstance that his is worthless or beneath others. I have found this attitude in several lives, who may not be homeless but definitely has a poverty mentality. I have heard athletes at the top of their game assert that they are the best or great, that their greatness transcends others, yet their greatness is limited to health, particular position, and circumstances that surround their role.
Now take the homeless man who compares himself to others and look at the athlete who compares others to himself they still have one problem. They both are the standard in their eyes. Humanity is created by God for God. Compared to an all-knowing, all-powerful God the athlete is weak in every way. When understanding comes to the poor man he realizes that God’s grace flows to even those in a poverty situation, just as Jesus had no home as he was an itinerate preacher.
We must come to the understanding that Jesus is not impressed with you. The very idea that you did something great falls short when bragging to the one who spoke the universe into existence. We must also not be fooled by the false notion that God is too ashamed of me. God delights when we turn to him. To think that my sin is too great for God to forgive would be to think that my sin somehow is greater than Jesus.
Jesus is not impressed with you at your best and he is not ashamed of you at your worst. To get this statement we must understand that God receives us as children even in our most humbled position because he raises us above our humiliation to a relationship with him. To also understand this statement is to understand that my greatness pales in comparison to the majesty of God. No matter which factor that you struggle with in pride, understand that Jesus is sufficient and his grace is the answer.