I was recently watching the news and overheard a U.S. Congressperson lamenting the fact that the congressional approval rating was at 11%. Then he added, “Just below cockroaches and colonoscopies.” That’s pretty low.
In my view (which, I know, doesn’t count for much), Congress deserves that low rating. I wouldn’t place them lower than cockroaches, however. Probably dead even with colonoscopies, though… Still, they’re human beings (I think) and deserve to be seen as such. That alone, should place them in a little better light. The fact remains, however, that they don’t function very well as a body. A tad more cooperation and mutual respect might help, but there seems to be little chance of that these days.
Better Than the Alternative
Most of us are fortunate that we don’t have to stand much public scrutiny. Even better, we don’t have to weather the critique of a poll that rates our competency. Personally, I don’t know if I could take the rejection. While I don’t live for the approval of others, I have to admit it’s certainly better than the alternative.
As a race, most of us seem to be keen contenders for the admiration of other people. It’s often said that women dress for other women. It’s also true that men try to act manlier around other males. We all seem to vie for a higher rung on the social ladder—hence Facebook, selfies, and mechanical bull riding. All of these things are attempts to get a leg up on cockroaches and colonoscopies.
I suppose this is all part of the human condition. We keen contenders can’t seem to help ourselves. We seek the appreciation of other humans when the only real being we need to please is God. If we lose theLord’s affirmation, we’re in deep doo-doo.
Trying to Please People
The Apostle Paul ran into this problem with part of the church in Galatia. People were apparently flocking to other preachers who were laying down a false gospel. According to Paul, theirs was “really no gospel at all” (Galatians 1:6-7). Rather than trying to outdo the false prophets, the Apostle sought to maintain the approval of God instead of retaining his popularity among the brethren. He went so far as to say, “If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). Something tells me he slipped below the cockroaches on that note (there were probably no colonoscopies in his day).
At this point in my life, I think I’ve finally realized that it’s futile to try to win approval from every soul that surrounds me. It’s even more pointless to try to maintain the admiration I actually have received over the years. People are way too exacting and difficult to please. God, on the other hand, loves me just because. He already knows what a screw-up I am, and He still calls me to follow Him. He could do a lot better, but I’m grateful to be counted in that number—cockroaches and colonoscopies notwithstanding.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently