And I’m proud of it too.
* grins * Calm down. Don’t close the page. Hey, I said don’t close the page! Wait! Come back!
Thanks… whew. Give me a chance to explain myself, eh?
People get so uptight when anyone claims to be better than them at something. Sit down until you are called upon individually to stand! Yipes…
Think about it: what does ‘better’ mean?
“It means you are superior to me.”
Right. It does. What else does it mean?
“That you are worth more than me!”
Right, that too.
* listens to stunned silence for a moment, silently chuckling *
I love lexicology… it’s so much fun.
Think about it. If I beat you easily every time we ever play chess, I am better than you at chess. If I beat you at wrestling, I am better than you at wrestling, and so on. There is nothing wrong with that. It is actually perfectly normal and inescapable. Everyone in this world is inferior to most everyone else on some level, and better than everyone else on almost none.
Let me say that again: everyone is inferior to almost everyone else in the world in some area, and almost no one is better than everyone else at anything.
So get used to it. We aren’t equal. I am better than you. At least at something. If I am paid more, that means I am (quite literally) worth more.
The question is not whether one person is better or worth more or superior to another in any particular skill, or even in all skills together, though. Even if someone was better than every single other person in the world at everything you could possibly measure each other by, his life would not be worth more. He would be worth more, but his life wouldn’t. Our lives are all equal before God, each one worthy of living, each one equally free to be saved, each one equally loved by God.
So if I say I am better than you, I am not talking about in that sense — quite simply because you can’t say it in that sense. People try, but they are stating an oxymoron. The value of your life is not predicated on what you do with it.
But does that mean I should say I am better than you, even when I am referring to intelligence, or vocabulary, or wrestling or chess skills? Should I be proud of it?
Well, proud has a couple meanings. It can mean justly pleased with something, or inordinately pleased with something. I can be proud of my friends for the way they maturely handle situations, or even proud of the fact that I finally worked my way up to one hundred pushups. I can also be arrogant and condescending about both facts.
This arrogance, occurs, I believe, when we get the two kinds of worth that I just talked about mixed up. If we begin to imagine that our value makes our lives any more valuable than anyone else’s life, then we become condescending and arrogant. If we see everyone as having something that they are better than us at, and value them for it, then honest appreciation for our own value is perfectly healthy.
Here is the key: if your appreciation for your own skills or value makes you thankful — honestly thankful — then it isn’t arrogance. If it makes you condescending, then it is the bad kind of pride.
So yes, I am better than you, and proud of it, but you are also better than me. And you should be proud and thankful for it.
That was probably, honestly, the most confusing article I have ever written… hopefully you all will be able to understand it. 🙂