Our Crab Mentality
There is an African fable about crabs…. “Some crabs were aimlessly crawling around in a basket interior, always moving, agitated at their captivity, but going nowhere. One resourceful crab, tired of treading in a circle, decided to climb the basket wall and escape the tedium. He forced his claws into the tiny nicks and crannies, creating a ladder where there was none and began to climb to freedom. The other crabs watched the show in amazement. “What is this fellow up to? Does he think he is too good to stay in here with his fellow sufferers? How dare he wants to leave?” And so, when our innovative friend was about to put his claw on the very top of the wall and escape, the other crabs suddenly rose up in unison and pulled him down into the basket, smashed him to the floor and trod on his broken back until he was dead…” What happens with crabs happens also with humans, unfortunately. This is what is commonly referred to as crab mentality. This is motivated by the craving for human glory…
Human glory depends on competition. Human glory stems from being richer, smarter, more recognized, more powerful, more intelligent. The greater our feats, the more glory receive. This is upward mobility. We climb the ladder of success. But this same glory can spell one’s doom. Human glory breeds rivalry which inspires and generates violence leading to destruction, even death. “Where there is jealousy and strife, there also are inconstancy and all kinds of vile behavior… Where do conflicts and disputes among you originate? Is it not your inner cravings that make war within your members? What you desire you do not obtain and so resort to murder?”(James 3:16)
Jesus gives us the antidote to vainglory’s evil and deadly effects. If upward mobility is the nature of poison, the downward mobility is through the way of humility. “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)
By today’s social standards, Jesus would be considered a “loser”, a man without any ambition. When we think and reflect of our own role in own society, do we consider ourselves “servants”? Do we consider ourselves “losers” like Jesus, willing to lose our lives for the sake of others?