And The Winner Is...
by Keith Giles
Spiritual epiphanies can sometimes come from the most unexpected sources. For example, after watching the Golden Globe awards last weekend I realized that I am a Pharisee at heart.
I've known for quite a while that my "Love Language" includes Words of Affirmation, so in a way it really all makes sense. But as I sat watching Steven Spielberg tell stories about filming the demolition of his Lionel train set I realized how much I crave recognition. In my heart of hearts I really do want people to honor me and give me awards.
I confess that there are times when I wish people would celebrate my great achievements (whatever they might be) and beg me for my expert opinion. On the positive side, my desire for words of praise does inspire me to work hard and strive for excellence in my work, but I must admit that there is still a part of me that does things so that people will see it and take note of my artistry.
That's when I realized that I am, at heart, a Pharisee.
Jesus pulled his disciples aside and made a point of discouraging the sort of behavior I am confessing to you now.
""Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." - Matt 6:1-4
So, I am condemned by my own sinful heart. I admit I carry the gene for pride and I struggle with selfishness. However I also realized something else this week as I continued to reflect on this disease of mine. Do you want to know what it is?
I realized that, for a long time now, I have thought of this sort of behavior as being a Pharisee. However, I now realize that this behavior is actually just part of being a human.
My humanity is what makes me selfish, and sinful, and hopelessly pathetic, not my "Pharisee-ness" (whatever that might be).
Realizations like these keep me humble and small. I cannot escape the truth. I must admit that I am not an expert on anything except sin and pride and selfishness. Without God, I am worthless and hopeless.
To the degree that I am in touch with my humanity, my weakness, my failure, I can appreciate the wonder and the majesty of God's amazing love and grace.
So, from one human to another, please join me as I kneel on the ground and submit myself to our awesome savior and king. He alone is good. He alone is worthy of praise and recognition.
"And now I know the secret that only losers keep, and I wallow in the hopeful tears that every finder weeps."