God has an app for that

Monday Musings for March 13, 2017

Good morning, Musers,

One of God’s special geniuses is how he allows us to grow stronger in him personally while deferring to the growth-needs of others. The result is that we grow collectively as the Body of Christ. Do you remember the No Child Left Behind federal education initiative? Unlike us, God actually pulled it off!

To say that human beings are varied would be an understatement. We are unique — every one of us — and those of us who were herded through public schools in the 50s were acutely aware that some kids were smarter than others. Yet we of the middlin’ sort somehow survived that indignity. And in years of talking to my co-sufferers, I find that the vast majority of us were in no way scarred by other people’s achievements — and hey… some of us even went on to lead productive lives!

As the omniscient creator of the universe, God knows that people vary… and he has a program for that. It’s called the mutual upbuilding of the Church. This is God’s version of No Child Left Behind — but this one actually works. It promotes personal achievement, true self-esteem, altruism and collective growth.

But here’s the thing: the world wants the No Child Left Behind talking points (or lately, screaming points) … but without admitting that any child is actually behind… because labels like “ahead” or “behind” are counterproductive if you’re trying to build a world where nobody should ever feel sad.

Sin works that way, too. Many people-of-the-world happily co-opt God’s talking points… but few admit that sin really exists… and fewer still admit that it exists in them! But “owning” your sin is a prerequisite for living and learning in truth — and one sad (yet defining) truth of the Gospel is that not everyone gets a trophy.

Don’t get me wrong; God wants us to have self-esteem… but in the right way and for the right reasons. For instance, we were made in his image — and via his image, we have intrinsic value… and a legitimate cause for self-esteem. But he also gave us work to do — and via our workload, we will develop patience, have joy in achievement… and learn to overcome obstacles rather than melt-down under their mere presence. We will become — in a word — adults.

For centuries, we Christians have warned the world that we can’t have peace without the Prince of Peace… and so far, we’re right. But I would add, you can’t have worth without the Creator of worth… and the world fails there too — but boy do they try! But one cannot — by external energies — generate self-esteem in another person. That takes legitimate personal achievement.

If we continue to grow children under today’s faux self-esteem paradigm, what happens when they figure that out? … or worse… what happens if they don’t figure that out?

Well… God has an app for that! Enjoy the musing.

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