Years ago I discovered something about crabs. If you put a bunch of crabs in a bucket you do not need a lid. As soon as one crab tries to get out of the bucket one of the crabs at the bottom will reach up and pull the crab above him down. Some people are like this. Whenever they see someone making headway in life they feel compelled to stop them, to pull them down. They would rather see failure than applaud someone else’s success.
In the race of life there will always be those who lack mercy and tact or perhaps a better word for this is grace. Grace in Christian terms is unmerited favor from God. In social terms it is kindness with tact. This lack of polite behavior is one reason why the Bible tells us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us,” (Heb 12:1) They hate winners and dismiss as much success as they can. In Christian circles we find these folks focus on self rather than on Christ. They become the subject of life rather than their Savior. It is like they have forgotten the implications of Christ’s death and resurrection.
How then can we protect ourselves from this type of religious humanism, these graceless crab type people? I think that there are two things that can help us. The first is that we should see ourselves as Christ sees us, and the second is that we must not minimize the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The first thing that can help God’s people reject graceless crab type folks is to see ourselves as Christ does. Christ sees His children as special. Christians are told that for the “joy that was set before [Jesus] he endured the cross (Heb 12:2). The joy set before Jesus was not only pleasing the Father, but also that he was making us His own people. People that are able to live lives that rise above the world’s addictions and fixations with shiny objects. As members of Christ’s family we must remember that we are different from the world. We are not jealous of other people who are successful, but we are encouraged as we see others do more than we expect or imagine. We see them overcoming, succeeding, rising, enabling and being free from the world’s hypnotic call to personal and cultural destruction.
The second thing that can help us to be graceful is to embrace the work of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us and to change us. We are told to “lay aside every weight and the sin which cling so closely” (Heb 12:1). So how do you think that you are able to identify those things that hinder you? That’s right, it is by the Holy Spirit. And how do we have the strength to change without being overwhelmed or discouraged? Through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Some people may think that the Holy Spirit is not working quick enough in your life and they will seek to assist God in ferreting out your sins. Be careful of these graceless crabs. They are often more willing to point out your issues than address their own. Instead , as you read your Bible and enjoy the relationship you have at church open yourself up to hear God’s voice. Ask yourself, “Is there anything in my life that does not bring honor to God?” You will probably be able to come up with some areas that are much more personal than those graceless crabs that just want to pull you down.
Do not dismiss the mysterious and mystical way that God works in your life. Salvation is a one time act, and it is absolute. But the Christian life is a process, and God is working in your life in different areas than He is working in someone else’s life. So don’t minimize the work of Christ on your behalf and don’t dismiss the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. Ignore those graceless crabs. They have no idea how to get out of that bucket.