Identity

Trapped in an Elevator, Feeling Hostile

So You Think You Are Better Than Me?

We humans are finite beings; but we forget that. Until faced with our limitations, we assume nothing can stop us. Being trapped in an elevator is one event that makes us aware of our lacks. 

From the circumstances come a range of emotions. Let’s say you have one other person in the elevator with you. That person acts calm and self-controlled. He or she speaks as if not greatly concerned about the events of the moment.  

Photo by Kitty Terwolbeck
Photo by Kitty Terwolbeck

His or her confidence in the crisis could feel reassuring and calming. Or, you might perceive his or her demeanor as if she is better than you. Our Relational self compares itself to others. Feeling anxious in the presence of someone who appears totally in control makes us feel less than adequate.

The Source of Hostility

Feelings of superiority or inferiority come from how we believe we measure up to others. To be trapped in an elevator with a person who appears to have it all together brings feelings of inferiority. Your Relational self will pay more attention to the other person as time passes rather than the elevator.

The threat of being trapped will shift from the concern about the elevator crashing or trapping you for a long time to that other person. Your perception that you are inferior to him or her for not being calm will bring out the emotion of hostility. 

Hostility is an interesting emotion. It is stirred by feelings of inferiority. It socially protects us from another’s misjudgment of our true worth. Hostility alienates us from others. It can separate us from community. It even separates us from our Creator.

If human beings accept that there was a Creator, those people tend think of Him in the words of the 1990s Bette Midler song, “God is watching us, from a distance.” Humanity’s perception of the Creator is one of aloofness and detachment. The Creator’s knowledge of humanity’s condition is reflected in Paul’s letter to Christians in the city of Colossae:

You were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds. Yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach, (Colossians 2:21 NASB)

The Creator showed His love for humanity by sending His son to live trapped in the elevator with the rest of humanity. Jesus was attuned to humanity. He felt our struggle. Those who knew Him, did not question His love. His followers knew Him as a man of humility and compassion.

Others, like the Pharisees, hated Jesus because He challenged their superior attitudes gained by social status, not wisdom. Their attempts to show Jesus lacking in wisdom, failed miserably.

He was fully human and like they, He was trapped in the same elevator. If the Pharisees had listened from their hearts to what Jesus taught, they would not have crucified their Anointed One.

This song written by a theologian in 1989 illustrates the truth of Philippians 2:6-11 NLT: 

Love was when God became a man 

Locked in time and space without rank or place. 

John Walvoord, 1989 

The Eternal Creator loved humanity even when we were alienated from Him. Through Jesus Christ, the Creator allowed His sinless Son to die for you and me. Jesus was attuned to our condition. He was in harmony with our feelings.

However, one thing was different in the Core being of Jesus. While He knew our feelings and our limitations, He did not act on those feelings. He had to remain without sin so His attunement could lead to our atonement.

He became the only human being without sin so His death could free us from the elevator trap. When He was resurrected, any human being who wanted to be freed from the elevator where they were trapped by sin and death, they only had to accept His atonement.

Action Point:

Recognize that the Creator did not want you to remain alienated from Him. He sent His Son attuned to our human condition, including you and me. He died to provide atonement so that you and I could be put on a right-standing with our Creator. The result is that you and I are His children, no longer lacking or inferior.

What kind of gratitude does that provoke in you?

Thank you for reading this blog. Have you found your Core identity and do you live as the Creator intended?  

Lowell Routley

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