Level the Playing Field
Author: Susan Thomas
Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? As they started their infamous race, that rabbit had an unfair advantage. He was infinitely faster so the race was his to win! Maybe the tortoise felt fear? Or, maybe he resented the hare and resolved himself to failure. The hare bullied that tortoise with his verbal jabs and silent judgments. But, he got lazy. His pride and false sense of security led him to take what turned out to be a very unfortunate nap. He
wakes up to find the race has been won! The slow, committed efforts of the tortoise leveled the playing field and led to an unexpected victory! That hare had speed, but the tortoise had commitment!
The Bible tells us that as Christ followers, we are in a race.
…Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:13b-14, NLT)
This life is the race. Our prize is God’s eternal promise through Jesus our Savior. But, how we run the race matters!
Sometimes we can be like that hare. Pride seeps its way into our hearts and we can begin to view others as “less than”. We see their sin or shortcomings, and if not careful, we begin to judge them.
“How could she do that?”
“I just don’t understand someone who would make that choice.”
“Let me parent their child for a week and I’ll turn that mess around!”
From silent conversations within our heads to loud statements of disapproval of those around us, we can slip into the judgmental pride that cost the hare his victory.
But, we can also be like that tortoise. We might feel like the loser. We might accept the reality that others are beyond us. We just don’t have the skills to do what it takes.
“My life is a mess. God would never want me.”
“I don’t know the Bible at all. I embarrassed of what others will think.”
“Those people are the spiritual ones. They have it all together.”
“I can’t share Jesus with others. I still make a ton of mistakes.”
From self-importance and grandiose thinking to self-contempt and insecurity, God speaks to us.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Romans 3:23, NLT)
Everyone has sinned. EVERYONE.
We all fall short of God’s glorious standard. ALL of us.
Sin levels the playing field. We may come from different backgrounds. We may appear to have different advantages or disadvantages. We may struggle with different things. At the end of the day we all fall short. We all make mistakes. We all sin. And, all sin leads to death. LEVEL PLAYING FIELD.
When we understand this truth, it will revolutionize our interactions with others. We no longer see others as pitiful or judge them in their sins. At the same time, we do not view ourselves as less than those around us. We do not place people on pedestals and imagine ourselves as second-class citizens in God’s kingdom.
As a counselor, we understand that we have the same sin-disease of the soul as every person who walks in our doors. Their sin may manifest in ways that are similar or different than our own struggle with sin, but we all struggle. We are not the “expert”. Instead, we humbly and confidently lead our clients to the Expert. Jesus Christ.
In marriage, we embrace the fact that our spouse is not alone when it comes to wrestling with sin. We both sin. We are both broken. So the worthless finger pointing shifts to dealing with my part of our marriage struggles. We show the same grace to our spouse that we desire to receive. We encourage one another versus condemn and punish one another.
As parents, we realize our children have the same condition of sin that we do. While expressed in a variety of forms, we are able to identify with their core struggle. Rather than discipline out of anger, dismay or disappointment, we lovingly and consistently discipline them out of divine calling by God to help them. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is teaching them how to understand, confess and run to Jesus for victory over sin. We are not above the battle; we are in it with them.
In church, we no longer feel the pressure to wear our masks and present ourselves as perfect. We don’t point fingers at our brothers and sisters whispering words of gossip as we hide our own failings. We don’t hold other Bible-believing, Jesus-loving churches in contempt because their style or delivery looks different than our preference and we somehow deem ourselves as superior. We repent from our judging hearts. We turn from our self-condemnation. We respond by coming as we are in humility, acknowledging we are sinful people and celebrating God’s gracious redemption in our lives! Why?
Because while sin levels the playing field, Christ wins the race!
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:56-57, NLT, emphasis added)
No more room for insecurity.
No more room for pride.
We all start from a level playing field. We all have sin. We all struggle. We all fall short of God’s glorious standard. We all need His help. But, we all have a choice where to go from there. Will we run this race with a prideful heart growing lazy in our attention to our sin? Or, will we commit ourselves daily to run to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith? Together, let’s run to Jesus and encourage one another on in this race!
Posted on September 2, 2014