Jesus asked his followers to not seek places of honor at banquets. He made it clear that he didn’t want people to act like big shots, but why was that?
Pause a moment. What reasons might Jesus have had for disliking proud behavior?
One reason you could come up with is that it makes the showoff look ridiculous. That occurs to us when people suggest we list our degrees after our signatures. We say, “Oh no, people would laugh at me.”
A better reason for not flaunting ourselves is that compared to God we are just peanuts whatever degrees we might have earned.
But, let’s take a look at another good reason for us not to exalt ourselves. That reason is that we cannot put ourselves up without putting others down.
We have all been told that we are created in God’s image and likeness. Might it not also be true that each of us is like God in our own way?
With that in mind, I began thinking of God as resembling a many faceted diamond, with each of us created with the unique potential of mirroring one of God’s facets?
Really fine parents, and our best teachers, are those who help us develop the God-like potential that constitutes the deep personality of each of us.
Our worst enemies then would be those who can only boost themselves by keeping others down. Colonialism was dreadfully sinful when all of Britain followed Rudyard Kipling in referring to it Indian subjects as “All that black-faced crew.”
By damaging their self-esteem we rendered those Easterners incapable of being what God meant them to be. I once asked a Korean student if he would like to be a priest, and he said, “I’d like to be an American priest, but not a Korean priest.”
In our century the Orientals have gained the self-esteem that is essential for them. The U.S. once limited Oriental immigrants because they were below what we liked Americans citizens to be. Now we are limiting Oriental enrollment in universities because they are superior students who crowd out our kids.