We are a proud people, and we express it in the strangest ways.
There is good pride that is healthy and necessary for continued confidence.
There is excessive pride that results in arrogance.
And even if our society pretends not to know the difference,
We still bristle when someone steps over that line
And demands special consideration because they are who they are and can do what they can do.
We’re all pretty tired of politicians, actors, pop stars, preachers and sports personalities
Who think their level of fame and achievement
Means they are to be met with approval whatever they do.
They scorn those who don’t respond
With the level of acceptance and approval of which they are worthy.
And sometimes we fail to recognize we have the same attitude.
“When God has done this for you,
Don’t say in your hearts
‘The Lord has given us this…
Because we are such good people.’ ”
It’s a human inclination.
The writer is speaking to the ancient people who God brought out of slavery.
We have learned much, but our nature has not changed.
People give us help when we are in need – the government has programs to help,
And soon we begin to believe we deserve the help just because we are in need.
We often come to expect that help, and quit trying to better ourselves.
We become bitter if our needs aren’t met like we think they should be.
And we forget how to be grateful as in the first time we were given help.
Yes, our very humanity cries out for a certain level of ‘deserved’ dignity,
And we approve of governments helping those who cannot help themselves.
Yet we understand our infinity to abuse and over depend upon the certainty of that help,
Many people who depend on it never think it is enough,
Or complain when compassionate help doesn’t arrive soon enough for our relief.
But good people who give do so out of compassion – from the desire to help.
They are moved by our need, not primarily our good deeds.
Again, society knows when we give out of the wrong motives.
And those who sponsor artists do it because they love the arts or music,
Not necessarily the condition of the artist’s heart.
And we disapprove of the patron who expects favors from their prodigy.
God’s grace is given out of compassion, not on what we do or don’t deserve.
And that’s a good thing, since we would often receive half of what we do if that was the case.
On the other hand, we forget God’s nature of love and compassion is what gains us God’s grace.
We sometimes think it’s based on how good we behave or how intensely religious our life is.
We sometimes confuse God’s gifts of talents and abilities with approval of our character,
Thinking as long as we use the gift ‘for God’ we deserve blessings.
So, when God has done this for us, and we begin to think it’s because we are good people,
What difference does that make?
We started with pride, and we’re back to pride – and arrogance:
The attitude that says the demands made on other people don’t apply to us,
We are worthy of approval simply because of our way of life and beliefs,
We deserve more because we give more.
It is not God who has changed the way He gives grace,
We have changed what we expect from God.
And instead of a loving, giving person who applies our gifts for the blessings of others,
We become protective, territorial, ingrown, arrogant, and hoarders of our blessings.
The wonderful relationship with God becomes our possession, to be protected instead of shared,
When it needs to grow into the way of life to be shared that Gods loves and blesses.
When the Lord has done this for you, don’t say in your hearts, “The Lord has given us this land because we are such good people!”