My wife once used a ballpoint pen to successfully transform an F to an A on her college transcript. The goal was to fool her parents long enough to retake the class for a passing grade. She nearly succeeded.
This story has become family lore. (We share it with everyone but our children).
Unfortunately for my kids, technology has nearly destroyed the possibility of such a detailed deception. Every time a grade falls below a C, every time there is a missing assignment, I get an email. A nifty iPhone app gives me a real-time, line item look at every class with a built-in “contact the teacher” button always at my fingertips.
My kids are screwed. As far as they’re concerned, I’m omniscient.
Teachers start ratcheting up personal responsibility following the first 9 week grading period, and one of my kids (who shall remain nameless) has been struggling of late to turn in her (uh, I mean his or her) homework. Seven missing or late assignments in the last week have filled my email inbox with the mounting evidence, and last night it was finally time for dad to weigh in with his verdict.
As we discussed (okay, I was lecturing) the situation, I noticed the almost insatiable desire of my other kids to giggle, smirk, and (can you believe the gull) make condescending remarks toward the guilty party.
The only problem with this? I can see their running grade totals, too!
Unfortunately, my kids aren’t any different than the rest of us. Instead of finding peace in our daily dose of grace, we search for solace in the transgressions of others. Instead of remembering our own status as rule-breakers, we look down our nose at those caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
There’s a fatal flaw to this “at least I’m not like her” mentality. We forget. Jesus isn’t someone we needed some moment in the past, when we walked to an altar or prayed the magic prayer. He’s the source of our righteousness every moment of every day.
Not our social status. The kind of church we attend. Our political perspectives. Our self-discipline. Our knowledge of Scripture. How much (or little) money we have. Where we live. Where we’re employed.
Self-righteousness is no righteousness at all. There’s no room for elitism in the Kingdom of God.
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
–Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT
In your impulsive tendency to compare yourself with others, never lose sight of where your “A” comes from. God’s law has made it clear, no one makes the grade. Yet in the full weight of that verdict, God’s grace makes it possible for you to pass with flying colors!
That’s some seriously good news.