I really dislike paying taxes. Even though I realize they are a necessary evil in the type of economy that we live in, I really, really don’t like having to pay. I’d sure like to at least pay less taxes and whenever someone talks about making me pay more, it kind of ruffles my feathers, which is kind of hard to do considering I’m not a bird and don’t have feathers.
But even as bad as taxes are here in this country and as much as they are wasted and spent foolishly and even thought some of the things they are spent on are inherently wrong, I realize that I am not taxed like some other places on the planet. I guess I am grudgingly thankful for my current tax situation.
In the time of Jesus’ birth, the self-glorifying Herod loved to build shrines to himself and in order to pay for them, he simply taxes the daylights out of the Jews. He made no pretense of doing things for the good of Jerusalem. He was totally in the king business to exalt himself above others.
One thing I have noticed is that when I chose to do something wrong, I justified it in my mind. After a while, it quit seeming so wrong and I justified it even more irrationally. Eventually, my mind could make-believe that others that were not doing wrong were doing wrong and I could justify doing even more wrong.
I can see that in Herod’s lifestyle. He took and took and spent and spent, all for himself and not worrying about how it hurt others. And when others didn’t like it, he killed or imprisoned them and took all they had.
Now, I could tell myself that I’ve never been a thief and look at Herod and point and say, “That guy is just awful. I’m sure glad I am not like that!”
But the truth is that throughout most of my life, my relationships, even my relationship with God, has been all about me and how I can look better than the lowly remainder of the world that isn’t me. It took a long time to see this. I did it so long that my brain kept insisting that I wasn’t like that. The hardest lies to crack are the ones I tell myself.
Matthew 2:7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
Herod lied to others about his intentions. He was worried what the new king, a rightful kind born of the people, would do to his exalted position. He tried to use others to further his selfish plan and put down any notion of a true king.
Lying to myself helped me become great at lying to others. I’m not sure just how much others believed me, I only know that I believed that they believed me. That’s another lie I may have been telling myself. Lying gets pretty complicated after a while.
I do know that a lot of the things I said and did seemed noble and righteous at times but my true intentions were all about me. A lot of times they still are. It is important to sit down and face truth for a while now and then. Let truth walk all over the things I think I need and the things I think and feel. It gives me an attitude adjustment and kicks Herod out of my brain for a while.