I came across this story today about a prominent newspaper photo editor who had burst into his subordinate’s room and started to tear him apart for some work that he has done. After 10 minutes of giving the poor man a piece of his mind, he was startled to find out that his employee had been on the speakerphone with a prominent british aristocrisy. It was none other than the late Princess Diana, who had heard everything that was said.
Her comment was, “What an awful man! Just who does he think he is?!”
I have a pretty stormy temper myself and I can identify with the story very well. How would I have reacted if I knew that someone of greater stature was listening in on me?
When we indulge in “telling someone else off” or giving another person “a piece of our mind”, it hints at just who we think we are. We can be the boss or the man cleaning the toilet. In life there will always be someone of higher or lower status then us. When we think that we are something, we tend to lord it over others, because it helps us clarify our status in that particular relationship.
But what if someone greater is listening in? Would we continue to do the same?
Reminds me of another story about the captain of a US Nuclear powered aircraft carrier. As it was travelling the ocean at night, the captain spotted another ship’s light in the distance. He radioed the othe ship and told the ship to steer portside as his ship was heading straight it him. The other person radioed back and told the captain to steer his ship instead.
Indignant that the other ship had such audacity to tell him what to do, the captain declared, “I am the captain of a US Nuclear powered aircraft carrier, I suggest that you steer portside immediately!“
The other party radioed back,” I am in charge of this lighthouse.”
The captain steered clear immediately.
Pride is one of humanitie’s greatest problem. We think we are something when we are really nothing. We may have made it as head prefect of the school, win a president scholarship to study at a prestigious university, get a high paying job at the largest MNC, even get to be CEO and we think we are something. (I did not do all these, just citing examples yah?) These are all amazing achievements, but it would be wise to know that there will be someone else who has achieved greater things then us. For every peak there is a higher one, as the chinese proverb goes.
Pride causes arguments, divorces, suits and wars. It is our pride that that prevents us from acknowledging and submitting God. Which is why one of the thing that God really honours is humility.
St Paul admonishes us to “consider others better then yourselves. …. Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2:3 – 7
Jesus, the ultimate expression of God, reveals to us that humility is in the very essence of God. That the Most High would assume human form, humble himself to wash his disciples feet and let himself be stripped of his clothes, beaten and crucified upon a cross for us is, in my opinion, the greatest expression of humility. He who raised Lazarus from the dead and has legions of angels under His command could surely be able to dispense a couple of Roman soldiers.
But he did not. And because he did not, almost half of the population of the world now worships him as the living God. That, is true greatness.
How we need to meditate and remind ourselves about these things in order to keep our lives in the proper perspective.