As I grow older, I sometimes feel ashamed of myself of younger days for being overconfident. For I now realized that my overconfidence and occasional looking down on people very often came from not having been in their shoes. For example, generally speaking, a person is mostly devoted to God as a single. When you are a single, you feel like you can do anything and everything for God, and in fact, it is mostly young singles that make a commitment for missionary service. Perhaps not so unnaturally, they often look down on the older generation and criticize their lack of commitment to God. However, when they get married, these same young people soon feel that things are not as they assumed before marriage; later, when they have children, they realize that life with children is a totally different story.
This is true outside of religion as well. The old saying holds true: Singles are immature and child-like. A confident and even arrogant person is able to remain so often because he or she is not married yet. After marriage, with more responsibilities, limits, and problems, our life undergoes a total change. If a couple lives in a perpetual honeymoon and boasts that they are not beholden to anybody, it is often because they do not have children yet. When you find it necessary to humble yourself before others because of your children who do not care about your wishes, then you realize that you have been too proud and overconfident. I have only one daughter and she has not caused me much trouble. Someone like me does not have any right to preach on how to rear children because we simply do not know the life with two or three troublesome boys.
When I think about this, I doubt if I can ever be overconfident about anything anymore, for I now feel sure that overconfidence is, after all, a sign of immaturity. If we see others in trouble and think they look pathetic, and if we even indignantly say, “How can they do that?” these might be signs of our immaturity. By comparison, a spiritually mature person’s response will be something like this: God has shielded me from such trials; Were I in their shoes, I might have done the same thing.
It is said that Christians must be absorbents, not reflectors. For example, when there is a rumor, instead of gossiping about it and spreading it around, we can decide not to repeat it. This is only possible with spiritual maturity that comes from our realization that we cannot be overconfident about anything and that only God’s grace saves us from being in the same situation. Jesus told us not to judge (Matthew 7:1-5). Jesus said we would be judged in the same way we judge others because God judges us not by our appearance but by our heart. Judged by heart, nobody will stand blameless before God.
Accordingly, as we grow spiritually mature, there is only one thing that we can be overconfident: We must continuously seek God’s grace and be ever thankful to God who saves us from our evil thoughts and desires and protects us so that we can live harmoniously with Him.
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