1. having a specific or particular function, purpose,etc.:
a special messenger.
2. distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual:
a special occasion; to fix something special.
3. extraordinary; exceptional, as in amount or degree; especial:
4. being such in an exceptional degree; particularly valued:
a special friend.
We are each of us, certainly unique, with our own sets of gifts, weaknesses, strengths, foibles, struggles and accomplishments, but none of us is special. How do I know? Because “all are alike unto God”.
He loves us each individually. He has the exact same salvation available to each of us. None of us can gain it by ourselves; we are all of us, totally dependent upon his grace and mercy. And no one gets extra credit for needing less mercy or grace than someone else. As a matter of fact there is plenty of evidence that needing more mercy is actually very helpful in our developing appreciation for Jesus’ atonement on our behalf. (“Which of these, loved him most.”) which appreciation is vital to salvation.
If you are trying to be a disciple of Christ and you are told you are special and you believe it, you are faced with numerous possible pitfalls. Here are three of them.
A. If you are susceptible to pride you are a prime candidate for not only failing to be humble, but also for believing that you are an exception to the rules that all are required to follow, both on earth and in heaven.
B. If you are susceptible to being judgmental, you are a prime candidate for holding yourself to a higher standard than others and being constantly stymied and blocked by your own inability to forgive yourself when you are average, leaving you living a life battling an irrational discouraging sense of despair that you are not performing at a different level of competence than you are.
C. If you are susceptible to being self-analyzing, you will be less able to relax in the company of others when you are not performing exceptionally well. And that will affect your ability to show forth love.
And of course, most of us indulge in pride, judgmentalism and self-analysis during our lives. So why would we want to make ourselves more vulnerable to more negative courses of action or thought when we do?
All of those courses of action or thought will make your discipleship path harder (and less pleasant).
So, keep being a disciple. But drop the “special” (person, mission, calling, what-have-you) designation for yourself or those you love and wish to encourage. Individual? Yes. Known? Yes. Loved? Yes. Special? Nope.
My observation and experience is that knowing that we are not special frees us to progress more consistently and to open our hearts more to others in love and confidence, and makes it easier for us to repent and forgive both others and themselves. And that’s all very helpful in discipleship.