Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit,
but with humility of mind
regard one another as more important than yourselves;
(Philippians 2:3 NASB)
It’s always easy (or easier) to deal with someone who is nice and kind in a very respectful and honoring way. Sometimes, even the simple idea of someone being in some kind of a leadership position, can be reason enough to be lowly in your approach towards that person.
However, we seem to be convinced that we have the right to act unbecomingly towards other fellow Christians, if we see them undeserving of the proper treatment or the customary etiquette. Having been wronged equates to undeserving of my kindness, my time, and my grace. The same thing goes for those who unfortunately do not carry the appropriate title or position.
What is really bothersome is not necessarily the appalling act itself, but rather the heart it stems from: You cannot be dealing with someone in a demeaning manner and not be full of yourself. There is an irritable force coming from within us that reacts to an unreached standard or from an unmet expectancy, we believe we ourselves have attained.
We can call it the pursuit of excellence or a healthy perfectionism, but in reality it might just be plain and simple pride.
Since pride is thinking highly of itself, it disregards anyone in its near proximity of their true significance. Pride sees variety or diversity as lack or a failure. Potential in others is not necessarily one of the things pride considers unless it benefits self. There is no sacrifice in pride and therefore no room for a true disciple.
When Christians start competing and comparing, striving after better or best rather than serving and supporting, or looking for satisfaction in excellence rather than using excellence to please the Master, then things become a distorted reality through the lens of pride. In such a case, where a probable protégé seems to be an apparent enemy (David and Saul) or another appointed ruler becomes nothing more than a worthless slave in the eyes of his own brothers (Joseph), love gets replaced by hatred and more hatred helps propel pride into unprecedented heights, where the proverbial fall isn’t merely a humiliating event anymore but the last state of grace-consciousness.