Why is it that it’s so much easier to knock someone down than to lift them up?
At least, why does it come easier to us to do it that way around?
I’ve watched my children and, from the time they could first push and hit, they have been fighting for dominance.
In everything they do, they battle with each other over who’s the best.
Whether it’s who can get up the stairs first:
“No you didn’t, you cheated, you didn’t even say we were racing until you were half-way up.”
Or who got the bigger portion of chips with their dinner
“My pile’s bigger than yours!”
“That’s just because mine are more crushed, I’ve actually got more, it just looks like you have.”
Or whatever it may be – everything is a competition.
I’m sure there are some positive aspects to competing in this way but the problem lies in knowing when to stop.
All through our lives we jostle for position with the people around us, subtly (or not-so-subtly) trying to raise ourselves above them. Maybe we don’t do it maliciously or even purposefully but all too often, if we take an honest look at how we have been talking to and treating others, we see that we are just elbowing ourselves into a position of superiority.
It seems to me though that, as Christians, we should be doing things differently.
Jesus said many little things like this in Matthew 19:29-30:
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
Jesus seems to be suggesting that those who give up what they have, including their position and power here on earth will be rewarded for it in heaven.
It’s almost like he’s suggesting that humility is something we should strive for. You could almost convince me that he taught us:
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)
If we are truly to be different from the world. In the world but not of the world, born again, new creations, children of God, heirs of the Kingdom then we have to make a conscious effort to watch our tongues and our motives. We need to humble OURSELVES. Humility takes a conscious effort. It requires dying to yourself and instead looking to the needs of others.
Our job is to lift each other up, to encourage one another, to help each other with no thought to our own advancement but simply because it is right and good.
With our naturally in-built competitiveness it is easy to slip into worldly power-struggles and manipulation for personal gain. We must therefore be on our guard every minute we are awake ready to catch ourselves before we put someone else down and instead life them up with words of praise and encouragement.
How can you lift someone up today? In what area of your life do you still need to work on being humble instead of self-serving?