Opinion: Jamie Stephens – It’s better to be mocked than praised

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It’s better to be mocked than praised

“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” –Matthew 23:12

Do you persevere daily in your walk with Jesus? Or do you admit to always being weak and flawed? If you believe you remain firm in your daily journey with the Messiah, expect to be humbled soon. If you always confess to be weak and flawed, expect to be exalted.

None of us ever stand firm or stable during our journey with Christ here. That means no one is perfect, and none of us have our lives together. Many of us believe we do some days, but that tends to happen right before the moment God humbles us. He tears down the walls of our pride after we begin believing we have our lives all together.

When God’s children view themselves as flawed, weak, and when they put the needs of others before themselves, they will be given grace and honored by God.
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, ‘God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.’”–James 4:6

Jesus described a parable about a tax collector and a Pharisee. During the time Jesus walked the earth, tax collectors were considered criminals and sinful because they cheated innocent people out of their money. It was identical to stealing.

On the other hand, Pharisees tried abiding exactly by the law and doing everything in their own power to please God.
They were also very condemning of the needy, the sick, the weak, the outcasts, and those who did not abide by God’s law.

The Pharisees wanted everyone to believe they took God’s law seriously when He revealed the Ten Commandments to Moses in the Old Testament. They believed that anyone who broke the law deserved punishment or death. They especially didn’t care for Jesus and what He came to do or say.

Jesus explained that a Pharisee and a tax collector decided to pray inside the holy temple one day. The Pharisee praised God that he was not like others who committed evil deeds. He thanked Him that he did not commit sins like the tax collector. The Pharisee thanked God for his obedience and how he was able to follow all the Lord’s commands.

The tax collector prayed much differently and beautifully from the Pharisee. He was so ashamed of his wickedness that he couldn’t even look toward heaven. He kept his gaze down because of the disgrace he felt in his heart. The tax collector beat at his chest from his shame and begged for God to have mercy on him, a sinner.

Jesus explained that those like the Pharisee were always later brought to the point of shame like that of the tax collector. They will experience the heart wrenching dishonor and will have the option to humble themselves before the Lord. The Pharisee’s sin was pride.

The lover of the law believed he stood more firm and was more righteous than the sinner. God will oppose the proud. Remorse and regret always follow after the sin of pride. Then, the prideful will have the option to repent and confess to the Lord to receive His grace.

The temporary bliss of living in pride or any other sin never lasts. Eventually, misery and darkness will follow, and we are humbled.
We should never believe we are standing firm and walking strong in our walk with Christ. If we ever believe someone else’s sin is worse than our own, we are in trouble. All sins are the same in God’s eyes. No one is righteous, and we are all born into sin. No one stands firm in this life.

But as long as we continue viewing ourselves as sinners, believing in the Son, forgiving, loving one another as Christ loves us, and depending completely and totally the Messiah to give us strength each day, we will stand firm and endure.
“…As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.’” –Romans 3:10-12

Jamie Stephens is
from Jackson Parish, Louisiana.
She is the author of three books
and is a regional reporter for
The Louisiana Baptist Message.