“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).
We have all heard it and perhaps we have even said it ourselves. “I am the worst cook…” “I am the worst organizer…” “I am the worst preacher…” “I am the worst teacher…” “I am the worst gardener…” “I am the worst mother/father/daughter/son-in-law…,” etc.
Why do we say such things? We don’t believe these things when we say them. So, why do we say them? I would like to suggest a few reasons. Sometimes, we just don’t want people’s expectations to be too high. We don’t want them to be disappointed if we fail to deliver the goods. Or perhaps we say such things simply to elicit sympathy. We want people to feel sorry for us. We want them to pat us on the back and tell us that we are really not the worst, but someone else is. Often, people say things like these out of a false sense of humility. We are subtly fishing for compliments. We want people to tell us that far from being the worst, we are actually the best they know. Sometimes we say these things due to a very poor self-image. Life has been so hard for us. We have been battered for so long. We are tired and sick of everything and we feel that we owe it to ourselves and the world to say such things. Self-depreciation has perhaps become a lifestyle. Sometimes we say such things because we have unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of ourselves. We are perfectionists and we judge anything less than perfect to be the absolute worst. But perhaps we say these things simply because we don’t really know what else to say! We each have our own favorite, well-rehearsed, self-inflicting put-downs which we like to repeat to ourselves and others from time to time. But if truth be told, we don’t really believe them. We don’t really know why we keep saying them but we do.
In 1 Timothy 1:15, we have a statement from the Apostle Paul which sounds very similar to the statements we have looked at above. Paul addresses himself as the “chief” of sinners. Why would Paul say this about himself? Continue reading