Today’s Word from Pastor Tom Kidd…
“The proud cannot know God because God is not proud, but infinitely humble. Remember, only like can know like! A combination of humility and patient seeking is the best spiritual practice of all.” “The Universal Christ” Fr Richard Rohr
When someone makes a crack about my being left oﬀ an invitation list, or my being excluded from some event, I typically oﬀer my standard line, “I never fault people for common sense or good taste.” Usually that is followed by a guﬀaw and someone else’s halfhearted attempt at self-deprecating humor, to which I am inclined to mention that humility is one of my strongest gifts. Really, the only time being left out is a problem is when I show up three minutes before our tee time to discover my group teed oﬀ seven minutes before our tee time. Jerks.
Faux humility aside, “The proud cannot know God because God is not proud, but infinitely humble. Remember, only like can know like.” Keep saying that line over and over again, “… only like can know like.” Five words. So, the arrogant can know the arrogant, the self-righteous can know the self-righteous, but neither of them can know God because only like can know like. And since God is infinitely humble…
There is something just so jarring about this simple confession. I believe Fr Rohr to be accurate yet I had never considered such a notion. Honestly, while in the depths of reading these words I got stuck with this line like someone high centered over a guard rail. I felt like the disciples, when in a moment of exasperation with Jesus, they exclaimed (paraphrased), “Well, who the heck can be saved then?!” Only like can know like.
Then Rohr pens some of the most exquisite words of grace: “Remember again, God loves you by becoming you, taking your side in the inner dialogue of self-accusation and defense. God loves you by turning your mistakes into grace, by constantly giving you back to yourself in a larger shape. God stands with you and not against you, when you are tempted to shame or self-hatred.”
Much of my early adult years were spent in a pretty self-destructive life style. Even now, fifty years later, I can find myself reflecting with a sense of shame over decisions made. But God stands with us, not against us, in our struggle to become fully human. God loves us by becoming us and taking our side when dark memories would diminish our living. God takes our mistakes and turns them into grace… God becomes like us which permits us to know God. Only like can know like. Amazing.
I have at times looked back with some sense of longing for that day when worship always began with confession, “I confess that I am by nature sinful and unclean, that I have sinned against God in thought, word and deed… I have sinned by what I have done and by what I have left undone.” Similar to making a fearless moral self-inventory (4th Step in 12 Step Recovery) I found it helpful to enter worship with a spirit of humility. I never considered how the gift of making confession as really the consequence of God’s humility, not mine. Only like can know like.
God continually gives us back to ourselves in a larger form having turned our mistakes into grace. I believe I am gradually beginning to understand more fully what a former parishioner said to me years ago, “I am not certain if I can trust you, but I can trust the Christ in you.” Only like can know like. I think I am getting it!
Okay, I never said I was fast. In these challenging days let’s keep looking for the Christ in one another, even in those “anonymous Christians” who may as yet not realize God is working a good deed in their life. God is, by grace, giving our life back to us in larger form every day.
Pastor Tom Kidd