The other day as we were driving, a cop pulled out with his sirens on. We pulled over to get out of his way and were surprised to find out that we were the ones he was coming after. Sure, we were probably speeding, but we weren’t going as fast as all the other cars. The “nice” police officer gave us a ticket for a lesser speed so the fine would be lower and we wouldn’t get as many points. Our 5-year-old was in the back crying because he thought the cop was going to take us to jail, and we just kept thinking, “But we weren’t going as fast as everyone else.”
Has that ever happened to you? Or something similar, where you got in trouble for something, but weren’t the worst offender?
If you read last Wednesday’s post, you’ll remember that I talked about not comparing ourselves to someone better so that we don’t get frustrated. I referred to the verse, “to the degree that we have already attained” (Philippians 3:16). Well, I still hold to that, but then I was reading Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman (I highly recommend this book!). In it, he warned about our tendency to accept or excuse our behaviors because they are better than someone else’s: At least I’m better than that person. (I’d love to pull a quote out for you, but I can’t find the book right now – probably because of my imperfect housekeeping skills…)
I think it’s really easy to fall into that trap of self-righteousness… last week I said not to compare because there will always be someone better than us. This week, I’ll add to that, not to compare because there will always be someone worse than us and we might start to feel puffed up and think more highly of ourselves than we should. “Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” (Romans 12:3, New Living Translation)
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have good self-esteem, rather it should be based on truth. We can’t excuse behaviors or attitudes just because they may be better than someone else’s. We were speeding, and we deserved the ticket regardless of what anyone else was doing.
Oh yeah, back to the Word. I realized last week why Philippians 3:16 verse didn’t stand out to me before – I was reading it in another translation. So I thought I’d share some of the different ones:
- Only let us live up to what we have already attained. (New International Version)
- Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule (New King James Version)
- But we must hold on to the progress we have already made. (New Living Translation)
- Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. (The Message)
Lets keep our eyes on Christ and off each other and press on to live up to what we have already attained, to the degree that we have already attained, hold on to the progress we have already made, and stay on the right track!