Today, I want to talk about a popular attitude that we Christians are known for. You may have uttered it yourself: “I would never do that.” Although the words themselves are harmless enough, they can come from a place of pride and judgment. With these words, we place ourselves up on a pedestal, look down our noses at others and declare that we are better than they are.
But God’s word tells us:
Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.
I was in high school, at the lunchroom table when a girl across from me said she wasn’t sure if her somewhat controlling boyfriend would let her do something that weekend. I don’t remember who she was talking to or what they were doing, but I remember my reaction clearly: I thought to myself, quite haughtily, I would never ask my boyfriend’s permission to do anything. No one is going to have that kind of control over me.
She must be weak. Why didn’t she just dump him? I was stronger. That would never happen to me.
A few years down the road, I spent almost 2 years in the midst of a destructive, controlling, abusive relationship. And then I understood how that could happen in someone’s life.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
-1 Corinthians 10:12
I remember my college roommate asking, “Would you rather have diarrhea or vomiting?” What kind of question is that?! It turns out she was studying eating disorders for a class. My answer? “Ugh. Neither! I would never do something like that to myself!”
A few years later, I found myself standing over a toilet doing exactly that. And I understood how a person could reach that point.
I wonder about adultery. How many husbands and wives do you think have said at one time, “I would never do that.” And yet many of them do.
The point here is not to imply that you’ll end up doing everything you say you’d never do. Instead, I just want us to consider a couple of things behind this statement.
Pride. The attitude is that while others may fall into sin, we never could. God says “Pride goes before the fall” and there is a reason for that. Once we start to think that we are somehow so good that we are immune to sin, there is a temptation to stop actively avoiding it. It’s okay if I talk have a close friendship with that man, I would never cheat on my husband. We forget that sin doesn’t just happen…it starts with small steady steps. We have all fallen short. We are all depraved sinners in need of grace (Romans 3:23). And we need to remember that. The Bible tells us that Satan walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. We cannot afford to get too comfortable. (1 Peter 5:8) (<–Tweet This)
Judgment. The other side of this coin is judgment. Since we would, of course, never do that thing, we give ourselves the freedom to judge harshly the person doing it.
Over the years, I’ve learned something tough about myself: I no longer know what I am capable of doing. It’s a humbling realization, but it reminds me every day that I need God to help me. And it has taught me to try harder to extend grace and compassion to others.