“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12
There’s a scene in Billy Madison where the class is taking a field trip to the zoo. Towards the end of the trip Billy sees one of his new kid friends, Ernie, across the way staring at the side of a building. He walks over to see what is going on and Ernie sheepishly reveals to him that he has peed his pants. It stuns Billy at first but then he has a brilliant idea, he will splash some water on his own pants and triumphantly reveal himself to the other kids as a pants-pee-er extraordinaire. “Of course I peed my pants, everybody my age pees their pants, it’s the coolest!” The kids all buy in, notice that Ernie has also peed his pants, and Ernie gets a big high-five from the cool kid. And then of course, because it’s an Adam Sandler movie, all the kids in the class end up on the bus with peed pants.
It’s a reliably crass but heartwarming scene of one person, Billy, who has all the cache and status with the other kids, using that power to lift up a troubled person, Ernie, rather than tearing them down. Billy had become the coolest kid in the class, and he easily could have ridiculed Ernie for his mishap and taken all the other kids down that road with him. But instead, he made himself just like Ernie, got down into the trouble with him, and then completely changed the narrative of what it means to have peed pants, raising Ernie back up with him in the process.
I can’t believe I am about to write this, but when you think about it, in this moment Billy Madison is just like Jesus.
Jesus came to live with us to put himself on our level, so that we could relate to him, understand him, and ultimately learn from him. And then, with an act so selfless, so loving, so pure as to change the world forever, he lifted us up with Him and back into a right relationship with God.