Tuesday, March 22, 2011


“Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline

While we may not say that we literally hate discipline, I dare say that none of us really find it a positive word. We like even less the participle "disciplined," as in "I remember being disciplined by my teacher."

Two thoughts should be kept in mind:
1) We cannot divorce disciple from discipline. If we want to be one we have to have the other.

2) There is a way we use the word in a positive way, even a virtuous way, "self-disciplined"

The gospel today gives us two simple choices: to exalt ourselves or humble ourselves. It also reminds us how God will respond to each choice.

We may think we don't walk around exalting ourselves but I would suggest that when we critique others, and put down their words or actions, what we are really doing is precisely exalting, lifting up, ourselves.

When we are in the car and critique someone else's driving, are we not really saying,"I'm a better driver than them." In our workplaces how often do we make comments that would suggest that we really do believe we work harder or better than so-and-so. Even if it is objectively true it is still exalting ourselves. Would we not be better served by looking to the example of those better than ourselves and learning from them. Unless of course we are so arrogant we believe "there is no one here who works harder or better than me."

Self-exaltation can be an insidious sin. Studies show that men spend 2/3 of their conversational time talking about themselves. How much of the other 1/3 is spent critiquing someone else, which in an indirect way can be talking about yourself, exalting yourself, like the Pharisee "I thank you God that I am not like the rest of men...."

The gospel reminds us that we are all going to find our way to humility ultimately. We can either humble ourselves, or be humble. The former sounds less painful than the latter. Just my opinion.