That's not a knife. This is a knife.
Because I want to address a topic next week that mentions the "spiritual one-upper," I thought I'd define and describe him or her ahead of time. I've mentioned the phenomenon previously with regard to modesty/pride, but wanted to elaborate.
The one-upper is a person who can do you one better, at a dinner party or wherever. You've been to Europe, he backpacked from New York to London to Berlin to Moscow and back again, never even needing transportation assistance.
Whatever the category, you're outdone. That's bad enough in regular life, but what about the spiritual one-upper? (cf. The "Jesus Juke")
This is the person who can be relied upon to say something more spiritual than what you said, often rebuking you for not being more spiritually minded. The spiritual one-upper seemingly waits for a chance to pounce on you when you seemingly say or do something, anything, that might give the appearance that you were thinking of something less than the eternal glory of God or the eternal destiny of a fellow human being.
Perhaps some dialogue examples will help.
- Lovely warm weather today, isn't it?
- Really, how can you even think about yourself and the warmth when you know there are those in hell right now who know what real heat is like?
- I can't believe how expensive gasoline has become.
- God is in control of the world, brother, don't lose your faith. OR I wouldn't know. I ride my bicycle instead. I sold my car and we donated that money and the money used to spend on fuel to the missionary giving out Bibles in the jungle. OR Brother, that's nothing compared to the cost of a human soul in danger of the fires of hell. You should thank God you had an opportunity to share Jesus with the cashier.
- That was a great sermon today.
- Whenever I hear the Word of God preached, I feed on it richly, so I don't evaluate the sermon. It evaluates me.
- We had to get the air conditioner fixed at our house.
- We gave our air conditioner away so we could better empathize with those on the path to an eternal and fiery hell. The money we used to spend on utilities we now send to the "innocent native in Africa" so he can have bus money for the 8 hour trip to church.
- I've been praying that God would give me a husband.
- I'm too busy dating Jesus to be concerned about a relationship with a mere mortal man.
This is a tough one to combat, because the spiritual one-upper can get you every time, unless you give that money to (a) your church, (b) international missions, or (c) the homeless, orphans, etc.
Hopefully, I've not given you the impression that the spiritual one-upper is the more spiritual person. Often, it's the opposite, though he or she will always see him or herself as the more spiritual.
Sometimes it's clear to others, though they are so lacking in self-awareness that they won't see it. I'm talking about the person who doesn't attend church stuff because only people like you need that. I'm talking about the person who might say with a straight face, "I don't have a problem with pride like you do." (inside joke)
Truth be told, we can all fall into this trip and come across as arrogant, or worse, as spiritual. Be careful that in your desire to be spiritual you're not becoming the spiritual one-upper, wearing your spiritual growth on your sleeve for all to see.
Let's face it. You really can't win with the spiritual one-upper, because even if you win, you lose.
The best you can do is beat him (or her) by being a better one-upper. Even if you lay in weight and spring one on him, all you've really done is inflate your pride and feed your dark side by making someone look like the hypocrite he is.
For your entertainment, I share with you the garden variety one-upper.