My eleven year old son came home from his Wednesday night youth group a few weeks ago, and told me about the lesson he and his friends were taught. Our conversation went something like this…
“How did it go tonight buddy?”
He replied, “We learned about the story of the two people who went to pray at the temple, one was a religious leader, one was a tax collector. The religious guy was praying about how awesome he was. The tax collector was asking God to forgive him for being a sinner”. (If you’d like, you can check out the entire story here.)
So, I asked my son, “So, what did you learn from the story?”
He replied, “I think I’m like the religious guy. I thank God a lot for making me good at sports, for making me funny, for making me good at school. I probably shouldn’t do that”.
I said, “That’s a good lesson. Did you learn anything else? What do you think you should do now that you’ve heard that story?”
He thought for a minute…then he looked at me and shrugged as if to say, “I dunno…what do you think dad?”
I said, “What if every time you started comparing yourself with others, you remembered to ‘look in the mirror’? What do you think would happen then?”
He replied, “What do you mean by ‘looking in the mirror’?”
I asked, “When you look in the mirror, who do you see”?
He said, “I see myself.”
I said, “Right. So, what if every time you started comparing yourself to others, you instead looked at yourself, and then asked God to help you see if there is anything you need to work on. What would that be like?”
Again, he thought for a minute, then said, “I think it would help me not be so cocky, and would help me think of others more”.
I smiled, nodded, and then thought, “Wow…what would it look like if I followed my son’s example?”