“Mind the gap” is a warning that’s posted in the UK subway system. It is a notice for passengers to be mindful of the gap between the platform and the subway car so that they don’t trip or injure themselves in some way.
I’d like to use the phrase to remind us of another gap we should be mindful of. While it could certainly result in bodily harm to forget about that gap in the UK subway, ignoring this gap could do even greater damage.
The gap I’m referring to is the tremendous gap that exists between what we’re intended to be, and what we actually are.
Instead of remembering the gap that exists between us and Jesus, we tend to shift our attention to the microscopic gap that exists between us and “the world” - the people who are still doing the things we used to do.
Paul: such were some of you…
Really, the only difference is that they are where we were. And the fact of the matter is that we didn’t really do much at all to affect our own situation. We just accepted an offer to be rescued from ourselves. And now we have this idea that we’ve done something that makes us better than the folks who haven’t understood or maybe even heard about that offer.
If we’re not careful… if we don’t “mind the gap” that exists between us and Jesus, we can develop a sense of superiority. We can become judgmental.
Think of the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable:
9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.Luke 18:9-13
When we remember that we haven’t saved ourselves, but that we’ve been saved by the grace and mercy of God we should feel a tremendous sense of gratitude. When we remember that we have a long way to go in our journey to become like Jesus, it should bring us into a mindset of humility and compassion for others, rather than seeing them as enemies or antagonists.
source? It’s helpful to think of ourselves as beggars who have found food, going to tell the other beggars where to find this food. We have no reason to boast.
According to statistics, there often isn’t really much of a gap at all between the lifestyles or worldviews of Christians and non-believers. In order to maintain our sense of moral superiority and convince ourselves that we have been “saved” from sin, we exaggerate any gaps that may exist, or even fabricate gaps of our own making. (holiness standards, church apparel, traditions).
as though we’re better than others, we become so desperate to see a gap between us and them (where there often isn’t one) scripture: measuring themselves among themselves…
Sometimes it’s a manufactured gap. Statistical data suggests that there really isn’t much difference between the average Christian and the average non-believer. No real gap there at all, but we’ve created a gap by focusing on some of the minor differences that exist - due to our own self-imposed holiness standards. Our weekly habits of church participation allow us to recognize a gap between us and our neighbors. The fact that women in our movement wear skirts and don’t cut their hair has created another gap that we can focus on, and use as a means of comparing ourselves with others and convincing ourselves that we’re somehow morally superior. Our narrow focus on a few proof-texts allow us to perceive a gap between us and other Christians who don’t have the “full Truth.”
These are all gaps, real or conceived. But are they the gaps we should be focused on?
Maybe we should spend more time considering the enormous gap that exists between our own morality and the morality of Jesus; our personal character and the character of Jesus; our compassion and the compassion of Jesus; our level of self-sacrifice, our devotion to the cause, our love, etc… vs. Jesus.
I don’t remember where I heard the analogy, but it stuck: If the goal is to jump over the moon, it’s foolish to brag about being able to jump a few inches higher than me.
Moral of the Story
The moral of the story is that when the gap between you and the goal is impossibly wide, the gap between you and others is becomes insignificant.
Therefore, you should never allow yourself to feel superior to anyone.