I find that a lot of times in my parenting, I think back to my own childhood. Not to think about how my parents handled a situation, mind you, but rather I think about what the #$@&! was going through my head when I did things that I see my kids doing now. And by doing that, I get a sense of what my kids might be thinking, and I try to understand them more that way.
One thing that I did a lot as a kid (out of necessity in my view), was compare myself to my siblings. Being the youngest of 4 meant that I got very little respect and wasn’t all that trusted in terms of my abilities and talents. It seemed like whatever I could do, my older siblings could do better. It’s not like I wanted to be a go-to person for things, but it would be nice to be recognised for being good at something, you know?
So whenever I found that I was actually better than my siblings at something, man alive did I milk that for all it was worth. Whether it be exceptional at a certain video game, more knowledgeable in a certain subject, or just generally funnier than them, I did everything I could so that everyone around me would be aware of that fact. Because, you know, I need people to know.
Maybe that’s why I spend as much time as I can with my kids. None of my siblings can be as immature as I can. Take that, loser siblings.
Next week’s readings are:
This parable that Jesus tells really hits home for me, and it’s also a very slippery slope that we might not be aware of. Here we see the Pharisee praying in front of people, acting like he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, the bee’s knees, all that and a bag of chips. He really acted like he was better than everyone else, and even thanked God for that.
And then we have the tax collector off to the side, praying only for forgiveness for his sinfulness.
We obviously know who we should be like in this parable. We know the lesson. We know that being humble is better than being boastful. And so we do that. We be more humble. We don’t brag. We try to keep our good deeds to ourselves so as we don’t act like that pompous and pretentious Pharisee, because really, no one wants to be like that guy and thank God we aren’t…
You see, I don’t think humility, that is true humility, comes from our refrain from talking about ourselves, from showing off, or comparing ourselves with our weaker brothers and sisters. Rather, true humility comes from actually knowing and believing that we are all sinners, all fallen short, all in need of a God who loves and forgives, forever reaching out to us with grace and mercy.
Because really, any one of us could just keep quiet about our accomplishments and gifts and talents (and ironically some are better than others at that). That’s not humility. Humility is when we recognise that all we have is a gift, and that our strength comes not from ourselves, but from God.
And it is by God’s good grace that this strength and joy is given freely to all, without regard to gender, race, or creed. God welcomes us all with open arms, and allows us to see each other through God’s own eyes, that each of us are sinners but forgiven, fallen but strengthened, beloved children of God.
Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!