Mark 7:1–8; Mark 12:38–40; Luke 14:7–14 (read online ⧉)
To some degree, we all have a desire to be needed, acknowledged, valued, and heard. Often these are decried as pride. Yet, research (and life) consistently show that a child who is acknowledged, valued, and heard (and even needed to a degree) will grow up emotionally healthier than those who lack these things. Yet, if they are over-acknowledged, -valued, -heard, -needed (helicopter-parents, anyone?), they also grow up unhealthy emotionally. There is a balance.
One of the biggest indicators of a healthy measure of need, acknowledgment, value, and being heard is whether a person is satisfied at the cost of others or not. This isn’t a zero-sum game. It is quite possible to be valued and not devalue others.
When the Pharisees and scribes challenged Jesus’ disciples’ lack of washing, they were elevating their understanding of the Scriptures and traditions of the elders over God and the people. God had set the boundaries, but the elders put a bigger “fence” around the original Law in an attempt to “protect” the Law and the holiness of God as if either the Law or God needed it. The larger issue was that the fence was a huge burden to people, and wore down their hearts and souls. This was, in effect, bullying of the weak.
Jesus’ perspective becomes more apparent later on when Jesus’ assault on the behavioral patterns towards widows, and toward others. Their expectations of how they were to be treated were over and above what they should be expecting, especially as their expectations would often happen to the detriment of others, especially those for whom they were supposed to care for. Their desires and expectations were certainly unhealthy for everyone, even themselves.
In the parable of the feast, Jesus notes that people will often rate themselves higher than they ought. It wasn’t just a matter of wealth or privilege, it was who was valued by their relationship with the host. It was, honestly, also who could do the most for the host. Which is why Jesus addressed that, too.
The reality is that we are all in places where we could overvalue ourselves, and place ourselves in our own harm’s way. There is also the chance that we do not value ourselves as highly as others (though we have to be careful about false humility, too).
In the conversations of today, whether we are talking about race, gender, equality (of varying sorts), politics, humility is where the conversation begins. None of us is the Savior. There is only one person in that role.
※Prayer [Cheryce Rampersad]※
Heavenly Father, I come before Your throne of grace and mercy to ask that You bring humility into my life. Allow me to not be filled with pride, jealousy, or boastful gestures toward those around me. Let my heart be filled with love, joy, peace, and happiness for my fellow men. [Amen]
1) Have you ever had the experience of publically being knocked down a peg or two? Was it justified? Does that matter? How did you feel?
2) Were you ever honored or valued publically beyond what you thought you deserved or expected? What was that like?
3) Why is it important to be humble (maybe even pray for humility) before having a deep or significant conversation with a person with whom you believe you disagree or have had different experiences than?