16:12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth..."
This verse is still holding my attention, only today it is from a different angle again. One of the greatest problems with human nature is our pride which leads to arrogance. Religion is one of the spheres where this is most on display. The Christian world is fractured into nearly countless divisions. Each division is centered around a "truth" that they deem so important that it requires splitting from or distancing themselves from other Christians. This same phenomenon exists in all other religions as well. Some of the divisions are over very significant teachings. Some are over issues that are far less so. The insight that came to me today is not about the reasons for these divisions but the phenomenon that follows: a sense of superiority and/or arrogance.
What does this have to do with Jesus words "I have many things to tell you but you are not able to bear them now"? As we learned yesterday and the day before growth is progressive. Becoming like Jesus in thought and action is much like putting together a puzzle in some ways only very different. With a puzzle you start with all the pieces and need only to arrange them. Learning from Jesus is like developing the pieces first and then arranging them. Some of us are born into privilege. By privilege I mean we had parents who already had many of the pieces and taught them to us in word and more importantly in action. My parents taught me that hard work and serving others are not just "right" but the true source of joy and fulfillment. I never had to figure that piece out.
Here is the danger. Because all of us have some of the pieces which make up the full character of God we are tempted to look down on others who are missing those same pieces. We tend to cluster together with like minded people who have the same "pieces" we have. Subconsciously we feel superior. So proud of the pieces we hold we forget self pride has no place in the puzzle that makes up the face of God.
October 31 was the anniversary of Martin Luther's key role in the reformation of the Christian church. In the preceding centuries through no fault of any one person many of the pieces of the puzzle were lost. Men like Martin Luther found key pieces and the puzzle started to be literally re-formed, rebuilt, restored. Today my church and others value his contributions and celebrate his part in recovering lost pieces of the puzzle. Here is the irony: Martin Luther couldn't be a member in my church. He would not qualify. He was still missing too many pieces.
What is the point? We have lost sight of the fact that the body of Christ is not an elitist club for those who are good enough. It is a place of growth and restoration. It's a place where we come to share and grow while respecting the reality that growth is both progressive and personal. We don't all even start from the same place or grow at the same pace. Our growth is not a badge of honour either but an equipping for service. If I have pieces others are missing I should be using those pieces as a means to help and bless them, not as a prideful wedge of division.
Think about this: If ever a man walked the earth who had all the pieces and had reason to be proud and reason to be impatient with our lack of development and refinement it was Jesus. Is that how He behaved? The Story I read says He was a friend of tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners of all kinds.
If we're not here to help, we're missing a major piece of the puzzle.