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The Cure for “I’m Better Than”

The Cure for “I’m Better Than”

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. Isaiah 64:6

As I ran a race with thousands of others last weekend, I found myself people watching . . . and comparing. One of the worst parts of running a race is being beaten by those who clearly look like they should be far behind me. There was the guy carrying a huge American flag. There was the old lady. And, there was Santa Claus, in full Santa Claus costume, complete with a beard. All of them beat me . . . by a lot. There were many, whom, at the beginning, I thought looked slower than me, who were celebrating while I was still running. By mile 20, I found myself regretting my arrogance.

Life is like that. It’s not uncommon for me to indulge in condescending thoughts about those who struggle differently than I do. Why would you do that? How could you be so stupid? When I look at my own life though, I realize I’m no different. I’ve been asked those questions. My life struggles look to others like utter foolishness.

Today’s passage is the great equalizer and the cure for our thoughts of being better than anyone. No matter how good we may think ourselves to be, we all fail. We all wander from God and we all follow ourselves. Our flawed appetites vary greatly, as do the practical consequences of following them. Indulging in gluttony has very different repercussions than indulging in drug addiction. We all struggle with something though, that distracts us from following God.

In following ourselves, instead of God, we are all in the same mess and no matter how hard we try to be good, our good deeds are like dirty rags. On our own, without God, we are all lost. No matter the struggle, we all need God the same. You and I do not need him less the one sitting in jail.

I may be tempted to condescend to those whom I think look slower or worse than me, but today’s passage is the great reminder that we are all in this together. We all fail and we all desperately need God’s love, grace, and mercy.

 

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