One advantage to becoming old is that I’ve had lots of years to learn a few lessons. One of those lessons which has become a rule for which I’ve yet to find an exception: Never trust a man who says “Trust me;” never believe a man who says “Believe me.” Trustworthy people simply don’t talk that way. A corollary is the rule that says, the more a man tells us to believe him, the more of a liar or fool he is.
A similar observation is that pride and shame are inseparable. The person who shows excessive pride is deeply troubled by his deep sense of shame. The greater the pride, the deeper the shame. A corollary is the rule that says, The person who refuses to acknowledge guilt has the darkest sin to hide.
And yet another observation of a like nature is that people who feel small and vulnerable often devote a great deal of energy trying to degrade others by insults, as if cutting them down to a less threatening size. One who often calls another “little,” for example, is betraying his own sense of being small, frightened, overwhelmed.
And of course we’ve all noticed how common it is for those who feel bullied by life to align themselves with the biggest bully around, hoping he will protect them and enact for them the bullying they are too insecure to do for themselves. That’s how gang leaders and tyrants succeed, making themselves Bully in Chief. But of course the biggest bully is always the most frightened of them all.
I’ve also noticed after a lifetime of Christian ministry that those who are followers of Jesus Christ will always be drawn toward people who are Christlike in character and will never be swayed by or led by those whose character is profoundly unlike that of Christ. Even those who barely know Christ are aware, for instance, that he would never, never, never boast about profiting from other people’s losses.