Standards; June 6, 2022

2 Corinthians 10:12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

We see this sort of thing all the time. We human beings are very prone to form “in-groups,” setting criteria for membership and grading ourselves and each other on the basis of how well we fit those criteria. As Paul says here, there is no wisdom in that! Even on the biggest scale, there is only one race, the human race. If it were otherwise, interracial marriage would be sterile at best. However, right now we have people accusing each other of not being “black enough” or “white enough.” Genetic studies have been done of various groups, and the results have often been highly ironic, with such things as an adamant “white supremacist” discovering that their ancestry included some very “melanin rich” members, and some who identified as “black” having no ancestry from Africa at all. Things get even more complicated when we consider other groups that are organized on different sorts of criteria. What we forget is that the ultimate standard is God, and the ultimate example is Jesus Christ. How well do we measure up to Jesus? Of course, we have had heretical leaders who claimed Jesus made mistakes, like not having physical progeny, so they wouldn’t make those “mistakes,” but such nuts are definitely outliers. The thing is, every person’s job description is different in at least some ways, and usually in many ways. We have no valid basis for comparison among ourselves, because only God knows our hearts. We need to be focused on drawing near to God ourselves and calling others to join us, not because we have it down perfectly but because we know the direction to head. Often the people who proclaim their own wisdom are those who have the least of it!

I have certainly experienced this first-hand, from both sides. I have experienced the sting of perceived rejection from various groups, and in retaliation and self-defense I have established other groups, or even a “group of one,” telling myself I was superior to those who didn’t accept me. I have learned the hard way that all such groups are manufactured illusions, and the only standard is Christ. I hope that has increased my wisdom (which is very different from IQ) but even so, I realize that human wisdom is so insignificant as to be nonexistent when compared to that of God. I am personally accountable to God, and that awareness should keep me humble indeed! I am to seek God’s evaluation of how well I have followed His instructions, and not let any other opinion sway me, even my own. I recall one time when God blew me out of the water by telling me He was pleased with me, when I wasn’t particularly pleased with myself! I don’t see more than what is essentially on the surface, but God sees everything even to the core of our being, so I’m to leave the judging and evaluating up to Him.

Father, thank You for Your incredible grace and mercy. Help me be an ever-better channel of that grace and mercy to all around me, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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