I read this story in an Islamic journal some years back. It addressed an issue that many of us struggle with on a daily basis.
A prophet from another town was visiting a new city. When he was in a bus, the conductor forgot to take the money from him. The prophet, on the other hand, was tempted not to pay him after all it was just a matter of few pennies. But, in the end, he did. The conductor replied with a smile, “I recognized you and I know you are a prophet. I just wanted to see whether you would pay me or not.” The prophet was moved to tears and cried to God, “I nearly sold my faith for a few pennies.”
The moral of the story was how one is fighting the good fight of faith every day, how our actions and choices can have great consequences even when we don’t realise the magnanimity of the situation.
But what I took home from the story is – No matter how perfect, pious and devout you are, there will instances where you will slip and fall. So here’s the thing, why don’t we stop idolizing each other or even celebrities and people in power? There’s a huge difference between looking up to someone and burning the same person’s effigy, when they do something wrong or offensive.
When someone tells me that they are inspired by me, the initial happiness lasts for 10 seconds (or sometimes a couple of days) and then I am overcome with apprehension because the moment I do something wrong – expert in that field since I came to this world screaming and kicking – I’ll have to carry this heavy burden of letting them down.
I know the motto – those who matter, don’t mind and those who mind, don’t matter. But, in all honestly, peer pressure can get to you, or at least it gets to me.
There is a confidence about David that, from a distance, looks like pure cockiness. But the closer I get to him, the more I think his was a child-like trust in God, in God’s unmerited love for him. It was as though David “saw the glory of God in the face of Christ.” He had a deep sense of his chosen-ness: he knew God picked him, and nothing he did earned that status or could forfeit it. I think that’s the key for anyone: to know that God seeks and loves and keeps you, not because of anything you’ve done, and in spite of everything you’ve done, but simply because that’s who God is—the one who seeks and loves and keeps you.
Mark Buchanan said in an interview (http://www.regent-college.edu/about-us/news/2014/mark-buchanan-on-lessons-from-david)
To know that God seeks and loves and keeps you, not because of anything you’ve done, and in spite of everything you’ve done…
So in moments of weakness, which are far too many to even count, I try hard to be strong, try hard to remember that I am loved despite what I have done. And I try not to burden others by putting them on a pedestal from which they are surely bound to fall.