I Am the Worst
1 Timothy 1:14,15 The grace of our Lord overflowed for me . . . Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
Working with addicts and inmates, it is easy to be frustrated by recurrent destructive behavior. Why do you keep making the same mistakes over and over? It was not that long go however, that I was repeating my own mistakes with chemicals. Worse, I still struggle with destructive thoughts and behaviors today. When I am tempted to condescend to others, I need only to look at my own condition to realize that I have no moral high ground. I am not better than.
Paul, in today’s passage, provided the cure for my arrogance. He said that Jesus came to save sinners, of whom he was the worst. He realized that as he had required so much grace from God, he could hardly look down on anyone else. Paul was not trying to impress with how bad he had been. He was simply reminding himself of how much forgiveness he required from God.
When I am tempted to look down on the destructive behavior of others, I must remind myself of what God has done for me. Jesus came to save sinners, of which I feel like I am the worst because only I know all my evil thoughts and deeds.
This is not self-loathing or low self-esteem. This is simply recognizing that I am not better than anyone else before God. I always need Him. Humility does not mean I do not maintain boundaries with those caught in destructive behavior. It just means that I do not look down on them in judgment.
If I am not humbled by what Jesus has done for me, then I have never understood what He has done for me. If I stand in condescending judgment of those around me, I do not understand my own need and poverty before God. To condescend, is to live in profound dishonesty and blindness to who I am and to what Jesus has done for me.