A friend just got home from Haiti, and she had a tough, tough time. She spent a few days at an orphanage in Les Cayes, just hanging with some orphans and hearing their stories. One little boy was abandoned by his family on a filthy river bank when he was just 18 months old. His mom and dad simply couldn’t take care of him. So they left him, hoping the orphanage would take him in. It did, of course. He’s nine years old now, and my friend sat with him in the evenings after school. She told me how quiet and still he was. A boy like that should run and play and laugh, but he just sat near her. They had yarn and parachute cord, and she made bracelets with him, noticing how easily he would get discouraged. There wasn’t much she could do, beyond being there with him and encouraging him. She couldn’t bond with him, make promises to him, or raise expectations in him. She was just a visitor.
When she got to the airport in Port-au-Prince, she ran into a Christian group from Illinois. She said they were glowing and happy. They had also just come from an orphanage in Les Cayes. They’d just put a new roof on the main building. They told her their church had been helping the orphanage for several years. They love traveling down to Haiti. They get such a charge from doing good works. She couldn’t help but love them for their happiness and enthusiasm. She told me that she understood why they felt so good about what they had accomplished.
But she also wondered how she could be so sad. God had given her such a special opportunity to serve. She’d had a chance to be present for that little boy. She wondered why she didn’t have the same joyful buzz as those Christians from Illinois. I encouraged her on this. She shared the love of Jesus with that little boy! I know she’ll reflect joy in that, probably as soon as she recovers from the trip.
Her story got me thinking about how we are as human beings, and how we function. Pride is part of our human flesh. “I did something good enough for God to smile! Look what I did, that He smiles on me!” It feels awesome. I think we look for opportunities to feel that way.
But I have news for you. God is smiling on you anyway.
Pride makes us forget about grace. Take any good, solid, decent human being. If they get enough money, if they get enough fame, if they get enough people telling them how awesome they are, they can get pretty full of themselves. It is so easy for a good person to be corrupted with pride.
God knows how the human mind behaves. He knows that we are prideful. He knows that we like to brag and that we enjoy getting recognized for our accomplishments. He knows we’re not perfect! That’s why He sent His Son, who is perfect in every way, to die for us.
It is only through the death of His Son that we can get into heaven. It is the only way. I don’t care how much work you do, you have no shot. It is through His death alone that we enter the Kingdom. Don’t brag about all the great things you have done for God. We are only welcome in His Kingdom because of what His Son did for us, not for what we did. We didn’t do anything.
When Jesus died for us, He took away our right to boast. He took away our pride. He took it for a reason. Pride is too tempting! He had to save us from it. The only option was to eliminate it. This is the genius of God! The only person to get credit for getting us into the Kingdom is also the only person that won’t feel pride because of it. Jesus! He won’t brag about what He did. He’ll only say, “I’m just so glad you guys are all here, man!” You know?
So praise Jesus for what He did! He came in human flesh, dying for mankind. Now we are in Him, and He is in us. He brings us into the Kingdom of God. He brings us to eat at the banquet table of the King. We did nothing to get here. No money, no fame, no lottery ticket. No orphanage roofs or bracelets made from yarn. Nothing! Jesus did it all. Boast about that!