Everyone has his or her own set of ideals that he or she lives by. Each one of us has our own reservations that we opt not to have others stepped on. We all understand the need to respect boundaries of others (or so we believe as taught by our parents/guardians). But what we fail to understand is that many times we’re living on these ideals and ‘standards’ too much that we tag or judge others immediately just because he/she reacts, talks, walks, dresses differently (weirdly) compared to us.
No? Oh come on! Remember your first days in college when you were hanging out with high school friends telling each other about your block mates? How did you call the one with the afro hairstyle? Or the seatmate who wore neon colored shorts during PE?
This article is a self-check; an examination of self with the help of a short passage in the Bible when Jesus was telling His followers to beware of certain attitudes in Matthew 23:1-7.
”Everything they do is done for men to see: they make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues, they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them Rabbi.” As inspired by the book ‘Relationship Principles of Jesus’ by Tom Holladay, let us categorize these verses into a checklist of 3:
1. They Made Their Phylacteries Wide.
A phylactery was something used during the olden times to contain Scripture verses that was worn on the head. So that would mean the wider a person’s phylactery, the holier art thou. Quite irrational, illogical and immature, you say?
Well how about you, who inevitably have to get an iPad, that upgraded car or that bigger office?
Point number one checks our heart for symbols. Our desire for others to see us as cool, ‘in’, or moving ahead in life in order for us to feel good about ourselves.
2. They Love the Place of Honor at Banquets.
As we know banquets are held by well-to-do people. Going in one already should tell you the host/celebrant finds you important enough to share the event with you. But many of us overlook this… some don’t even appreciate it. We go to parties stressing over our finest clothes to wear-hopefully the one that hasn’t been seen by any other guest in that same party. Or over the gift to give, that’s got to be the biggest, most expensive looking with your name card largely written over it. Or the repeatedly asked question of who else got invited, or who got invited first?
Point number 2 checks our heart for recognition. The longing for others to give us the attention we feel we most rightfully deserve. And if they don’t? ah! Well, let’s just say some are already thinking, “Someday, I’ll get it.”
3. They Love to have Men Call them Rabbi.
“Sir Andy, your car is ready.”
“Dr. Sy, you have been given additional 20% discount by the manager.”
“Atty. Solayman, you don’t need to wait on the line.”
Yes, the love for titles and the expectation of special treatments that comes with it. We most of the time forget titles were earned hard to reflect the responsibility to serve others. Businessmen, doctors, lawyers and chefs are not given titles so they could think more highly of themselves compared to other citizens! It was meant to make people aware that they have specialized in a field to serve. Sadly nowadays, students were influenced to view the financial benefits and other perks for taking the course rather than the goal to help others.
Point number 3 checks our heart to willingly serve and be available to others especially in times of their need.
- Do you need to have symbols in you (branded clothes, up-to-date gadgets) for you to feel accepted? Do your friends need to meet a standard to please you?
- Do you get offended when you were not recognized as special among others? Do you show appreciation to others?
- Do you HAVE to hear your title in order to feel important? Or do you withhold giving compliments to others in fear that he/she look down on you as an inferior?
Don’t overindulge yourself with life’s blessings. They’re yours to be shared; there to make you a better person rather than kept and become a bitter one.