Do you ever get the feeling maybe you’re not seeing yourself accurately?
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” -Romans 12:3
The word Paul uses here for “Sober judgement” is the greek word “sophroneo.” It literally means, “to be in one’s right mind.”
This same word is used in the Gospels for a man who was set free by Jesus after being possessed by a “legion” of demonic spirits. In Luke 8, Jesus casts out the demons and the man is then described as being sophroneo, “in his right mind” (Luke 8:35). Thus, the exhortation from Paul to his readers is not to view ourselves poorly or as lowly scum, but simply to think of ourselves with sanity, to see ourselves accurately.
The problem is, this can be a tricky thing.
Psychologists talk about something called the “self-serving bias,” a tendency most of us have to interpret our successes as being due to our own efforts and character, and our failures as being due to external circumstances beyond our control.
This is just the sort of thing Paul is warning against: taking credit that isn’t ours, and refusing responsibility that is.
Oh how we need grace to see ourselves rightly! Understanding the reality of God’s grace helps us remember that we are special in God’s eyes, but not because of how great we are.
Rather, we are incredibly loved and valuable because of how great He is.