- aka Superiority Complex
You might disagree, but slipping into an air of superiority and judging others is really quite easy to do. We might even be doing it unintentionally and quite often without knowing it. This is especially true if we are putting our best effort forward to do what is right and true before God. I know that sounds counter productive, but it just may help explain what Paul was driving at when he wrote Romans chapter seven.
The other day it occurred to me that I was unwittingly judging others as undeserved and inferior. The amazing thing in all of this was that I was actually trying to serve God and do His will. I discovered unbeknownst and to my dismay that I had been subtly judging for quite some time. If after reading this article you examine your life closely. You will also discover that it’s easy to slip into a superior than others attitude even when you’re trying to your best to please God.
Below is the situation in which I found myself when I made this discovery
One day at a Walmart I walked into the men’s room. I prefer the handicapped stall because it’s more spacious so I went straight to the very back. I opened the door and went inside. Before me all over the floor lay crumpled toilet paper in several places together with smaller bits of tissue strewn about. I discontentedly looked around and examined the toilet seat also to make sure it wasn’t stained. After my examination I immediately sensed disgust arise in my heart.
Some time ago I had taken it upon myself to pick up any litter or messes laying about. I’m not really sure why, but I thought it would be a good thing to do. So silently and unknown to others I began to clean up after others.
My wife probably finds this incredulous, “When do you ever do that at home?” she probably asking herself as she reads. But its true, ‘smiley’ I am doing it.
Overtime, however, I started to begrudge the messes.
On this particular day I thought, “People are such pigs,” as I looked at the mess on the floor.
“Why can’t these guys pick up after themselves? Why should I clean up after them? If everyone would simply do as I do wouldn’t the world be a little bit better.”
Then it occurred to me.
I was making myself out as superior. I had judged them inferior because of a simple task that I took upon myself to do while they weren’t.
It was then that I was reminded of “Romans 7:14-24 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”
It’s astonishing isn’t it? The subtly in which a sinful attitude can creep into our life is both astounding and devious.
I also learned to appreciate Romans seven in a different light.
Beforehand I used to view chapter seven as describing willful sin that repeatedly reared its wicked head. Like a barking dog that wouldn’t go away it kept biting at me even when I was trying to repent. But now as an old man I am discovering that this is about sin that is right there with me even as I try to do the very good that God wants me do. In trying to do a good deed, I end up judging others as inferior and having wicked intent and all this unknowingly. It’s inescapable. Yikes! It also reveals that what Isaiah said about our good deeds is true. Our righteous acts are like filthy rags before God. —Isa. 64:6
Somehow I, even in my goodness, I end up doing evil.
“What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” —Romain 7:24-25
The point is we must constantly be on our guard against evil.
There is a story in Leviticus about clay jars used for storing food. If an unclean contaminant falls into the jar, the food must be thrown away and the jar is smashed. —Lev. 11:13
Smasing the jar too never really made sense to me, but now it does. I believe that story was written to teach NT believers to be careful about what we store in our minds and hearts.
Jesus tells us that if we feed on him we will live. —John 6:57
The contrast is also true if we don’t feed on Him we will die!
When the food in the clay jar is contaminated it is thrown out and the jar is broken. We are the jars of clay. If we’re not actively seeking and feeding on the Bread of Life, Jesus, aka storing good matter, food from heaven, then we are feeding on something else and in danger of breaking the jar. Corruption has entered our inner being and it will deceive and eventually break the jar!
“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” — 1 Tim 4:16