I’ve been reflecting on a podcast I listened to the other night about how entitlement and pride can make us miserable and incapable of joy. I tried summarizing what I took from it, but I think it’s said best in this quote:
“A joyous life receives everything as a gift. A miserable life is that which looks at everything and says, ‘I’m owed this.’”
If you always think you deserve something, you will either say, “That’s fair, it’s my right to receive this,” or “that’s not fair, I deserve better.” By thinking this way, it’s impossible to be aware of the grace you are given while being humbled by it. No one can understand grace if they think they deserve the things they don’t.
“Pride is a way of justifying to yourself the control you have over your life. The only way to justify this is to constantly say, ‘I’m owed this.’ Pride makes you walk into a room and look around and ask, ‘Are these the kind of people I want to be with? Are these the kind of people who will enhance who I want to be seen as?’ It destroys your humanity. It makes you ask, ‘Are they weeping with me? Are they rejoicing with me?’ Pride makes you miserable because you become so absorbed in yourself that you can’t notice someone else who is weeping.”
Yesterday, I saw two Moonie cult members evangelize to a girl on campus for about ten minutes, so I prayed they would hear the truth. I recently told myself that if I ever saw them talking to someone and they traded numbers, I would go and warn that person about their beliefs. After she walked away, I went over to her and asked what they were talking about so I could explain who they were. This was my first time going up to anyone afterwards, and it turned out I recognized her. I hadn’t spoken to her before, but I knew her face from church. It was crazy because I’ve never met anyone from church who goes to my college. It’s more than a thirty minute drive from campus. I asked her what she was talking about with them, because I was worried they were getting through to someone. She said she was sharing the gospel.
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
God transcends what we call “coincidence.” He is always at work. His providence and sovereignty is never-ending.
As I write this, I’m sitting outside a coffee shop in LA. Earlier, a guy came over to me because he saw me reading my Bible, and it turned out he’s involved with a church I heard about that just started nearby. He also knew some people who go to the church I attend. God has been doing this to me a lot lately. Friends from classes have had genuine faith. A group project meeting turned into a discussion about Christianity and God after a girl mentioned she had a Bible study that night. A favorite teacher of mine from middle school has expressed interest in my Facebook posts about Christ.
Glory be to God in the highest.
“In friendship, we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another… the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting — any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work.”
A friend and I used to talk often about how we thought the opposite of love is indifference and not hate. For someone to be resentful of another person, they must’ve first loved or cared enough to get to that point. I recently realized “indifference” is a polite way of saying it. The opposite of love is apathy. The reverse of caring is not caring. A hard heart contrasts a compassionate one.
“Did I hate him, then? Indeed, I believe so. A love like that can grow to be nine-tenths hatred and still call itself love.”
-C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
We become apathetic when we forget. We get so used to the things that excite us that they lose their value. Apathy can be inevitable, unless you don’t focus too much on the wrong things. If we keep our minds on what we’ve been promised, we will never forget the coming reward that is greater than anything the world can offer. We will never lose our hope if we are reminded of an eternal joy that radically outweighs temporary happiness.
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”