Titus 3:3 - "For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another" (ESV).
Two years ago, one of the assignments from a particular Bible class at was to memorize Psalm 1. So every morning at the breakfast table we read the Psalm and eventually my son Cianan, who was four at the time, had memorized the whole thing. It was so cute to hear him we recorded him and sent the recording to family and friends. About a month ago we read Psalm 1 again and I played the recording from two years ago for all of us to listen to. Cianan was shocked. "That's not me! I don't sound like that," he exclaimed. It was amazing to hear the change that had taken place in Cianan's grammar, pronunciation and tone of voice in two short years. More than that, the change had happened gradually and Cianan had forgotten how he once sounded. It humbled him to realize that he once sounded like a four-year-0ld, because the fact was, he used to be four!
Over time as we mature in Christ and allow God to change our lives, it would be easy to forge that "once upon a time" we were immature and hostile toward God. It would be easy to think that we had always been as mature and strong as we currently are and look down on those who might not be where we are yet.
What Paul points out to Titus is that all of us were once foolish and disobedient. The great apostle to the Gentiles includes himself in this verse when he says, "For we were once foolish!" Paul's point is that there is no room for arrogance or boasting in the kingdom of God. Not a single one of us has saved himself or matured apart from the mercy and grace of Christ.
Just like Cianan was humbled to realize that he once sounded like a four-year-old, we should be humbled as we remember what we were prior to being saved by the mercy and grace of Christ. As we interact with others who are struggling or who might not have accepted the salvation of Jesus this verse should give us renewed perspective, compassion and patience as we remember that we were once there too.
(Originally posted on 5/13/09)