In The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul writes:
The struggle we have with a holy God is rooted in the conflict between God’s righteousness and our unrighteousness. He is just, and we are unjust. This tension creates fear, hostility, and anger within us toward God. The unjust person does not desire the company of a just judge. We become fugitives, fleeing from the presence of One whose glory can blind us and whose justice can condemn us.
God is holy. Give God the glory. “Holy” and “Glory” are terms that we toss around so frequently that we often forget that these words touch the divine character of God. God is holy- there is no sin or darkness in Him; He is perfect. His will is holy and operates beyond our understanding. We are to give God glory- to praise Him, to worship Him; to bask in His magnificence. But, we miss the mark. I think sometimes we forget just how far off we are. We so often use the word glory when describing God that we don’t even realize where we are actually directing our glory.
I came across a post by Tim Challies in which he comments on, in my opinion, a very profound observation by Erika Harold, who is currently studying law at Harvard and was Miss America 2003:
We live in a culture where reality TV is pervasive, and we’re entertained by other’s humiliation and by pulling on people’s weaknesses and watching a weak person be embarrassed; and I maintain that’s the cause—glorifying humiliation of others.
All you have to do is turn on the television. Why do we so enjoy watching women compete for the attention of a sleazy bachelor? Why watch Chef Ramsey scream obscenities at chefs in Hell’s Kitchen? Why Big Brother? America’s Got Talent? Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Survivor? American Idol? America’s Next Top Model? The Bachelor? The list is endless.
All of these shows put people under a microscope, leaving them to be criticized, picked apart, and left potentially humiliated in brokenness. Yet we find entertainment in this.
Challies writes, “What is wrong with us? Why is it that we glory in the humiliation of others? Would we be as interested in these shows if they were merely about talent or about fascinating plots? I don’t think we would. I think we are attracted to them precisely because they humiliate other people. We are attracted to them, at least in part, because they give us the opportunity to feel better about ourselves at the expense of others.”
When we glory in God, we are forced to recognize that it is HIS splendor, not ours; it is HIS worthiness, not ours, it is HIS majesty, not ours. Indeed, we are small. We are a prideful people. What good is glorifying God’s holiness with our tongues if our actions do not follow.
When we choose to glory in humiliation rather than glory in God, we are choosing our own pride over the peace that follows His divine glory. To choose pride over peace is to reject the very legacy of Christ.
Sproul most elegantly writes:
This is the legacy of Christ: peace. It is His peace that is our inheritance. He gives the gift in a way that is different from the gifts that are given in this world. There are no ulterior motives and no sinister strings attached. He gives us His peace not for His benefit but for ours. It is an otherworldly gift given in an otherworldly manner. It is ours to keep forever.
This is the salient point. When we glory in the humiliation of others, we make ourselves feel big. When we glory in God, we are forced to recognize that we are small. Yet in recognizing we are small and giving glory to God, we trade our pride for his peace. Inheriting peace from the very Prince of Peace- the thought takes my breath away.