Thursday, November 05, 2009

My Mess is Bigger Than your Mess

In reading the blogosphere, the places I stop and read the most are Christian websites that have a reputation for linking me to great resources or those who make their research available for lesser scholars like myself. Being a part of the Reformed tradition myself, (okay, I am only a four-pointer, much in line with Calvin himself  ) I see a lot of blogs and websites that are written by those who are solidly reformed. I have one rather strange observation to make.

There are a good number of otherwise great Christians out there who are all claiming to be the chiefest of sinners. I get that there can be a plurality of chiefs. But there can only be one “chiefest of sinners”, and seeing as St Paul coined that phrase and applied that title to himself, all other ‘chiefest of sinners’ are frauds – a sin they can add to their long list.

Seriously, I understand that a thorough reading of the epistle to the Romans and the Institutes of John Calvin will teach us to know ourselves and to understand just how lost and depraved we are, apart from the merits of Christ. I havc no qualms with anyone experiencing levels of humility that rival the depth of a snake’s belly or the significance of an earthworm or gnat. But there is always a sneaking suspicion niggling in the back of my somewhat cynical mind that someone describing himself this way is really competing for the top prize for piety. I think it’s quite okay to be honest and to tell people.. “I’m a mess. That’s why I needed Jesus.” But it all begins to sound silly when we start competing over the question, “I’m a bigger mess than you are.” What’s the point in that?

Yes, let’s strive to be humble, but lets not self-consciously talk about the levels of humility we have attained. Like any other communicable attribute of our Lord, when we take our eyes off of the object of our faith and focus on the fruits of our faith, we’ve missed the point.