"…all we have accomplished is really from you." Isaiah 26:12
Today I talked to my teenage daughter who is feeling the disappointment of not being chosen for the A volleyball team at school. There's that part of me, like every parent, that wants to talk to the coach about the mistake she's making. Really…my daughter is that good. But the truth is, there are many other players in her grade that are really good, too. Somebody has to be the dividing line and go down. I know the coach isn't playing favorites; she's just doing her best to work it out.
As we talked about what she can learn from this experience, and I reminded her not to take school sports too seriously to the point that they're not fun anymore, I also threw out one of the lessons I've been learning in recent years to see how she would take it.
"You know, God has a reason that you are playing down on the B team. There must be something He wants you to learn there." I wasn't expecting her to be open to that kind of exhortation at her age. It's hard to accept that kind of thinking even at my age.
"I know mom. I already thought about that and I think I know why. Last year, when I was on the A team, we didn't treat the B team very well. We kind of looked down on them. Now, I realize how wrong that was because it's happening again this year, only this time it's me being looked down on and it doesn't feel very good."
I was so touched by her openness to God's work in her heart. I still don't quite understand why it's so human nature to look down on someone who's not receiving the same opportunities. It's the same behavior you find in every school, neighborhood, city, and country, and is sometimes referred to as racism, prejudice, discrimination, etc. It's really no different. People always want to compare themselves to someone less fortunate and elevate themselves to feel superior, usually magnified by mistreatment. Few ever own up to it like my soft-hearted and thoughtful daughter.
I'm convicted. I think back on my own life and see many times I ashamedly have adopted a superior attitude toward others. And now, I realize just how crazy that was because there is nothing I have in my life—possessions, accomplishments, positions, opportunities, status, jobs, or any other privileges—except as they have been given to me by God. Not to be used as leverage or self-importance, but to help and encourage others.
I challenge you to think about the attitudes you have demonstrated toward others less fortunate, because it's really serious business. Is there room for improvement? Have you elevated your own importance or value above others, or taken credit where credit is not due? It's never too late to change your thinking and begin treating others with the respect and value they deserve because they are precious, priceless, children of God.
"But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you have already given us!" 1 Chronicles 29:14