The simple truth about the wealth and income gaps.

It appears that the top 1% continues to increase their ownership of wealth in this country, while the middle and lower class are losing ground.

The Widening Gap Between the 1% and the rest

Wealth Class198920072019
Top 1%24%29%32%
90-99%37%37%37%
50-90%35%31%29%
Bottom 50%4%2%2%
What do these figures prove?????

There are two predominant classes of theories on why this is: 1-The unfairness class of theories (systemic discrimination-corruption-cheating-theft); 2-The consequences of decisions class of theories. Which do YOU subscribe to? Let’s consider some bare facts.

One of the biggest differences between the wealthiest classes and everyone else is their ownership of financial assets–primarily stocks of publicly traded companies. The top 10% in terms of wealth own roughly 84% of the stock market in the United States. And that number is rising, up from 77% in 2001. Not only do the top 10% own more financial assets, they don’t have their entire equity ownership tied up in their home.

TO ALL OF THE ABOVE, I SAY “SO WHAT!”

It used to be “conventional wisdom” that buying a home is the best investment you’ll ever make. Perhaps that was true at one time, before the U.S. stock market grew to the point where even people with modest assets could buy stocks cheaply while diversifying their risk through mutual funds, and later Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). But owning a home is not only a liability that slowly turns into an asset, but also a form of consumption. You have to pay property taxes and homeowners insurance, both of which most people include in their mortgage payments. Maintenance and upkeep are required. Designs can go out of style which could require renovations over time. There are also considerable transaction costs involved with the purchase and sale of a home, far greater than the transaction costs of mutual funds, along with the interest being paid on the loan.

Then there’s the fact that you can’t spend your house as if it were a liquid asset, which is significant in times of financial risk, like losing your income, or having unexpected large medical bills. If you suddenly need a source of income beyond your job, your legal options are, in order of ease and availability: 1- liquidate—turn them into cash—some of your financial assets; 2- borrow against your home or other assets; 3-borrow “nakedly” (without assets as loan collateral); 4- try to sell your home. But a home is also the most emotional asset you can own. It’s literally the roof over your head, the neighborhood you reside in, and part of the community you live in. So while becoming a homeowner can provide a certain level of psychic income, it can also be your downfall when things go wrong because it offers little in the way of diversification if you lose your job or run into financial difficulty during a downturn.

I asked which classes of theories you subscribe to. Your answer to the following question will tell me: If you suddenly came into an unexpected, significant windfall of money, such as winning a lottery or an inheritance, what would you do with the money, in order of priority? The majority of the wealthy would probably: 1- pay off high interest debt (if they had any); 2- invest in their business or financial assets like stocks; 3- perhaps help family members with financial emergencies (but not the profligate), or give to charity (if they were Christians they would probably have tithed the first 10%); 4- buy stuff for cash.

What would many, perhaps most, of the bottom 50% do? Probably: 1- buy stuff they couldn’t have afforded before; 2- give money away to family members, some of whom were profligate; 3- pay off some debts; 4- save money, if any was left, typically in low interest, high liquidity bank products. Have you ever driven past a ramshackle looking house, with a satellite dish on the roof and a newer-looking, semi-luxury vehicle in the driveway? Of course you have. Do they own the car, or is it financed? Do you think they might be paying quite a lot for cable or satellite TV? If you got inside, what would likely be the most expensive items in the house? Could be the entertainment systems. It seems to me that if you did with the windfall what the wealthy are likely to do, you would subscribe to the consequences of decisions theory, and would probably be wealthy, or well on your way. If you spent the windfall the way the financially struggling would be likely to, you would also be financially struggling and probably subscribe to the unfairness theories.

If you were a Democrat politician, you would certainly flog the unfairness theories for all they were worth, because that’s what they do. I suppose we could also say “promoting the idea of unfairness (or prejudice or discrimination), = votes.” Let me be clear, in case you missed my point. “Regardless of your background or the system, your decisions produce your outcomes.” The best way to overcome your background is to emulate the decisions of those who are where you want to be. The best way to overcome the inherently unequal distribution of abilities, or the prejudices of those in power, is to apply what I call the “Booker T. Washington principle: Make yourself indispensable. Whatever your duties, do them impeccably, and you will get noticed.

The simplest truth about wealth/income gaps–or any kind of UNEQUAL outcome–is: Talent, abilities, initiative (ambition + drive + perseverance) and vision (TAIV) are unequally distributed, no matter what the politicians and grievance hustlers say. Don’t let them influence your decisions. Whom will you listen to?

Oh, about that “widening gap” between the 1% and everyone else: If most of your wealth is in the publicly-traded stock of the company you either started with or joined very early, and that company is successful (Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google), and therefore lots of people and institutions (mutual funds, pension plans, etc) buy that stock, the price of the stock goes up. Is there not a direct relationship between the increase in value of your stock and your net worth??? Any stock is still “riskier” than a bank CD or cash, and the extra “risk premium” is why an investor takes the risk. This hue and cry about wealth or income inequality is pure ignorance or demagouguery.

If “whiteness” is the disease, what’s the cure? Blackness?

The expert on “whiteness”

Line up now to get your tickets to the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies flagship course.….On Having Whiteness.

On Having Whiteness course summary: 2 C.E. CREDITS FOR LICENSED PSYCHOANALYSTS AND SOCIAL WORKERS. Donald Moss will discuss whiteness as a condition one first acquires and then one has–a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which “white” people have a particular susceptibility. He describes the condition as being foundational, generating characteristic ways of being in one’s body, in one’s mind, and in one’s world: Parasitic whiteness renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse; these deformed appetites particularly target non-white people; and, once established, these appetites are nearly impossible to eliminate. Effective treatment requires a combination of psychological and social-historical interventions, which can reasonably aim only to reshape whiteness’ infiltrated appetites – to reduce their intensities, to redistribute their aims, and to occasionally turn those aims toward the work of reparation. There is not yet a permanent cure. The Instructor bio: Donald Moss, PhD, is the author of four books, most recently At War with the Obvious and I and You, and sixty articles, the most recent of which is “Hate Speech/Love Speech and Neutrality in and out of the Clinical Situation” (JAPA, 2019). He is a founding member of The Green Gang, a group of psychoanalysts and scientists addressing the issue of climate-change denial. I would also add, in the interest of full disclosure, that Donald is almost albino himself. I wonder, does his whiteness show up in the mirror, or does he see himself like Bill Clinton purportedly did, as a “black brother”?

Yes, this is an actual course, it is not my attempt at satire….my sense of humor has not gotten that warped…yet. It isn’t a sketch idea that Monty Python’s Flying Circus rejected as too unbelievable. So naturally, I had to ask the question that comprises my post title.

The United States is my proxy country for “whiteness”, but there are many other countries, especially in Europe and the former colonies of Britain—the United States, Canada, Australia—that suffer from a surfeit of “whiteness”. My thesis is, “if whiteness is the disease, there should be a significant net exodus from whiteness countries, and conversely a significant immigration to blackness countries, i. e. African.” Let’s then compare immigration to the “whiteness plagued” countries with immigration to the countries that revel in a surfeit of “blackness”, on the continent of Africa.

Immigration to O.E.C.D. (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries by number of immigrants in 2016:

United States = 1,183,500. Germany = 1,051,000. U.K. = 350,100. Canada = 296,400. Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark) = 284,400 France = 258,900. Australia = 223,500. Spain = 215,000. Italy = 212,100. Major Slavic Eastern Europe (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary) = 165,600. Netherlands = 138,500. Chile = 135,500. Switzerland = 125,000. Austria = 105,600. Belgium = 100,200. Japan = 95,200. S. Korea = 88,500. Greece = 86,100. New Zealand = 55,700. Ireland = 41,900. Mexico = 34,900. Portugal = 34,000. Israel = 31,400.

I am drawing a couple of conclusions here: 1. The overwhelming majority—so much so that we could say “practically all” people who leave their country of origin migrate to and settle in countries that suffer from the “malignant, parasitic-like condition” that Mr. Moss calls “whiteness”. 2. Hardly anyone, comparatively, migrates TO predominantly black countries. Most of the countries receiving immigrants have generous welfare, healthcare and educational systems, and provide significantly greater opportunities for both personal safety and economic advancement than immigrants’ countries of origin. How then is “whiteness” parasitic?

Summarizing the O.E.C.D. data, of these 28 countries with the highest number of immigrants settling in them, Moss would opine that 26 suffer from a surfeit of whiteness, and 2 are oriental. None have any significant black population, other than the USA with 12.3%. What about immigration to African countries? I searched both Google and Bing on the term “immigration to African countries”, and other than for South Africa, there was no information on immigration to any other countries in the African continent. Okay, so where do most immigrants to South Africa, the richest and most developed nation on that continent (with the “whitest” characteristics i.e. “voracious appetite” per Moss), come from? Almost all immigrants to South Africa come from the continent of Africa. Of the 20 top countries of origin by number of migrants to South Africa, 13 of those countries are primarily black, rather than Arab. How do we explain this apparent migration to whiteness in the face of Moss’ condemnation of Parasitic Whiteness (“which renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse; these deformed appetites particularly target non-white people”)?

Starting with Ghanaian independence in 1957, decolonization of Africa was motivated by the white, liberal politicians of Western Europe who came to dominate the political landscape after WWII. They successfully promoted the idea that all whites in Africa were racist oppressors and all blacks were innocent victims. Thus, following this line of thought, Shaka Zulu, a psychotic mass murderer who terrorized an entire region, was universally lionized, while Cecil Rhodes, who never killed anyone, and who built roads, railways, bridges, hospitals, schools, and universities, and supplied the funding for the most prestigious scholarship of the modern era—the Rhodes scholarship—is portrayed as a heartless, avaricious monster. History appears to show that certain white politicians (aided and abetted by a fawning media and tenured college former hippies) gained and maintained their power by fomenting racial tropes–thus racial envy. I don’t know where those Western European politicians live, but here in the USA, they foment envy while safe behind their exclusive zipcodes and gated mansions.

You might be tempted to call me racist, but if you have learned anything about me from reading my blog, it’s that I am not intimidated by meaningless charges. If I’m a racist, what does that make the millions of people emigrating to whiteness countries? That’s truth “voting with it’s feet” in the form of migration to whiteness.

What's a "Twitter Lynchmob"?

From Digiday.com: Tweets may be limited to 140 characters, but the breadth of hellish backfire one misguided post can cause is incalculable. One false tweet can lead to death threats if you choose to dress up as a Boston bombing victim for Halloween. It can close down your dental practice if you killed a beloved African lion. And it will undoubtedly get you fired, if you’re a PR professional behind a racially insensitive share. Brands are not immune. Just think of AT&T, when in 2013 it chose the anniversary of Sept. 11 as a moment prime for product placement, or Kenneth Cole, which used protests in Egypt as a chance to promote its spring collection.

“It’s incredible when you think about how many ignorant comments are made on a given day,” said David Clinton Wills, a social media and pop culture professor at NYU. “Those that are strung along and hung up to dry — it seems totally random.” It’s been repeated over and over: What you share on Twitter and other forms of social media sticks with you. It can outlive you, even, and, most importantly, once deleted, it’s never fully erased.

“On Facebook, and more enclosed forums, there isn’t really a lynching mob because you’ve chosen your mob,” said Wills. “But the disconnect between private and public space on Twitter, that’s fascinating. It’s much more vulnerable to getting picked up.” These Twitter “lynch mobs” inevitably spin out of control. Regardless of how reprehensible the perpetrator’s initial act was, the ultimate punishment for those lambasted on social media usually doesn’t fit the crime.

According to Will McInnes, CMO at Brandwatch, there are a few distinct ingredients that can yank a tweet out of a person’s inner circle and shoot it into the social stratosphere, to be torn apart by the rest of the world. First, it must center around a topic able to incite passion and interest. Then, there must be a group ready and willing to jump into public outcry, given the chance. Finally, it must be a small and compact enough instance for people to understand. “We, as consumers, have a cognitive bias where we only respond to numbers that are small enough for us to wrap our heads around,” he said. “We get so mad about one lion rather than the entire wildlife. It’s much easier for us to react to a simple narrative than an entrenched issue.”

Tim Young, writing in Washingtontimes.com: “I have been attacked by Twitter mobs before, and the pattern is similar. Suddenly out of the blue, an account with 100 or less followers comments on a tweet of yours they don’t agree with and it immediately has 30 to 50 likes on it. As someone who has more than 200,000 followers, I can tell you that it’s tough to get that many likes in under a few minutes, let alone immediately with an account my size, so when an account with even 1,500 followers gets that many likes immediately, you know that it is just one person operating a large amount of multiple accounts.

“From there, each of those accounts will weigh in and begin driving more attention to the tweet and you, who they are attacking, in order to bring a ‘Twitter mob’. Those accounts are likely similar trolls who behave in a similar way. I say all that to say that the mob that wants to silence edgy comedy or things they don’t agree with, may only be a few people. How do they even pick their targets? One day it’s a shirt that has a #FakeNews logo on it — the next it’s people who say Baltimore is a bad city — the next it’s a new word we never knew to be offensive before they declared it as such (‘Fredo’, for instance). These shifting issues expose the mob for what it really is: A disorganized group of bullies with an ever-evolving list of implausible arguments for things to be offended by.”

Now I weigh in. Does anyone with a “smartphone” not know about multiple cases of Twitter abuse—mobs or “meantweets”, or people who have been vilified due to tweets they sent years in the past? Of course they know, and many still tweet, because airing their opinions is soooo satisfying. The Bible has some advice for you. Proverbs 18:2. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, only in expressing his own opinion. Proverbs 17:28. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. The same goes for the written word. Until you have absolutely considered the consequences, don’t send that email, tweet or letter.

My favorite response to an idiotic or insulting message, be it verbal or written, is this one from Douglas Wilson on his Blog and Mablog blog: “You’re no religious person. Donald Trump PAID FOR & FORCED multiple women to have ABORTIONS. You fake Christians are seriously twisted. The Bible says to beware of false prophets and boy oh boy, uneducated people like you have taken Satan’s bait. You’re truly sick. But why is anyone surprised when you quiverfull fools keep your kids uneducated, girls are only used as broodmares and your “pro life” stance is a joke. Can’t wait for that afterlife because none of us will give you fake Christians a drop of water when you’re sitting in Hell. Signed, Donald

The response: Donald, the best part of this job is being able to read all the thoughtful responses that come in.

Narcissism amok: Do sexual predators ever sleep?

Vancouver Sun

From a report that appeared in World Magazine, January 2020: In multiplayer games such as Fortnite or Call of Duty, players compete or collaborate with strangers over the internet. Estimates vary widely, but in the United States, about 28 percent of the 211 million gamers are 17 years old or younger. Most girls (83 percent) and nearly all boys (97 percent) play video games at least occasionally, the Pew Research Center reported. Child predators use these multiplayer systems to befriend, groom, lure, and assault young players. Last year, police arrested a 41-year-old Floridian for allegedly abusing more than 20 children whom he met and targeted online. “These virtual spaces are essentially hunting grounds,” cyberpredation expert Mary Anne Franks told The New York Times.

Xbox maker Microsoft on Jan. 10 launched Project Artemis software that monitors all conversations within games that use it and recognizes those consistent with an adult grooming a child. Once it flags a danger, the program alerts a human who then reviews the conversation to determine whether to alert authorities. Microsoft is leasing the patented technology to Thorn—a nonprofit group dedicated to fighting online sex predators—which is making it available to online service companies at no expense. The FBI labels as “sextortion” the exploitation of others online for sexual purposes. It’s so common that no software can be a panacea. While the tool alone can’t make multiplayer gaming safe, parents hope it can at least make it safer.

Mayo Clinic defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as a “mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.” But behind their frequently worn mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism. According to Susan Heitler, Ph.D., writing in Psychology Today, narcissistic folks who are fun, good at things, and appear in public to be compassionate and generous often look like they would be desirable as friends and even as marriage partners; they can be very enjoyable to hang out with. At the same time, are they also good partners when it comes to talking through differences of opinion?  Have you ever tried to be friends or a love partner with someone who is all about me? Someone who only listens to him or herself? A partner who changes the topic, gets defensive or mad at you when you try to talk about difficulties you’ve been experiencing? Narcissistic functioning, at its core, is a disorder of listening. Think of it as one-sided listening, with multiple features that emerge as a result. The desire to sustain a friendship—never mind a love relationship—can quickly fade with someone who does not seem to see or hear you, who dismissively pushes away what you say, and who may be quick to anger if you nonetheless attempt to express your viewpoint.  

I’m not up on the latest memes, but “Karen” is a meme for a particular kind of self-entitled person, who dresses professionally, values their time over yours, and feels entitled to be treated like royalty. If you are in retail, customer service, or any job interacting with the public and you encounter a “Karen”, you will know what narcissism really feels like. Don’t bother citing company policy, your supervisors’ instructions, or common sense, let alone consideration for others. There is no authority on earth high enough or powerful enough for a “Karen” unless that authority agrees with them. If you are the unlucky employee who has to tell them “no,” you will suffer the wrath of hell unleashed upon you, and then spread to the Internet like a plague via Yelp, Nextdoor, or whatever app is appropriate to bear the weight of your trashing. (Hide your nametag)

Offend a narcissist today (don’t ask me what doesn’t offend them, I couldn’t guess), and you could be bombed with exaggeration, untruths, and outright falsehoods on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Casual interactions with narcissists are bad enough, and there’s a reason I segued from sexual predators to narcissism. It takes someone who values ONLY themselves and their own feelings to prey, especially sexually, on the young and vulnerable. When there is no room in their emotional repertoire to care about or empathize with someone other than ME, they will be ruled by their basest and most insatiable impulses. Last year I wrote a post called Lust Rules the World. Specifically, my post was about why violent Islamic extremists, like ISIS or the 9/11 suicide highjackers, simultaneously condemn the West for sexual freedom (or licentiousness) while they often indulge in pornography, and routinely sexually assault of their captives. Instead of admitting and repenting of their lust and the ways they satisfy it, they project their guilt onto others by creating an entire theology of revenge—“Allah tells me to kill all infidels” (those who practice their lusts openly). The same Quran which says to make war on unbelievers also counsels mercy for the innocent and praises acts of charity. Note to narcissists: Who decided to emphasize the killing part and ignore the mercy part? You did!

Not all narcissists become sexual predators….but all sexual predators are narcissists. Those who want to suppress freedom of speech in the guise of protecting sensitive feelings are narcissists also. While their behavior is more benign than sexual predation, the ego behind the behavior is similar. My emotions and desires are more important than those of anyone else; therefore, whatever I do to satisfy MY desires and uphold MY ideology is justified, regardless of the cost to others.”

Is your social network or peer group elite?

You probably don’t think of your social network, or peer group, in such terms. Let me rephrase then. “Do you think your group has the obligation, right or authority to inform others how to think, or what thoughts and speech are acceptable?” No? Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine you are the chairperson for a campus speakers’ bureau, and you and your cohorts vote on whom to invite for guest lectures, but your group also has “right of refusal” or “approval” of speakers invited by other campus organizations. Are you getting an inkling of where I’m headed?

“Disinvitations” of previously invited speakers: The following graphs are self-explanatory. They are all indications of my definition of elitism: The belief that you possess superior wisdom and ethics, and therefore have the right, the obligation and the authority to control what others get to see or hear!

This kind of elitism–close-minded, egotistical, self-righteous- is anti-freedom, anti-truth, anti-choice, and has no place on campus nor anywhere that promotes the idea of a “free interchange of views.”

Abortion sacramental: cliches and slogans

I have inadvertently started a “dialogue” on abortion on Medium.com, by responding to a post by one of the writers. He hasn’t replied, but another male reader did.If you look at history, it is clear that women can never become equal citizens so long as they are denied control over their own reproduction. It is a pragmatic position that is absolutely fundamental to achieving true equality. So long as a man can simply walk away a woman MUST have equal rights. These are not rights by law btw, but by virtue of reality. Men DO just walk away, therefore they can. There is no way of forcing a man to take responsibility. We’ve tried. We’ve failed. The position we are in now, where woman’s choice is given primacy, is entirely due to men’s shitty behavior over the entire course of history. It’s way too late to claim that men take responsibility so a woman must to. Boodin is clearly an extremist and as such his opinion is worth very little. Some people believe that a bunch of cells should have the same rights as a living breathing human. Crazy right?”

In response to him, I cited the following instances of local and state governments enacting recent “abortion is a sacrament” legislation, in my post “The Contrarian Curmudgeon”, as follows: New York started last year with a euphemistically named Reproductive Health Act. The act effectively denies the personhood of the unborn, creates loopholes for abortion at any stage of pregnancy, and loosens the qualifications for medical practitioners who can perform the procedure. The legislation cements the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision into New York state law. San Francisco blacklisted 22 states with pro-life laws and announced the city would not do business with them. Illinois’ state government followed in New York’s footsteps and passed its own version of the Reproductive Health Act, effectively undoing all previous pro-life legislation in Illinois and establishing it as a destination for abortion seekers. Vermont’s law prevents the state government from putting any restrictions on abortion, and Maine’s law allows physician assistants and some nurses to perform the procedure.

If I call abortion a “sacrament”, doesn’t that statement have religious overtones? Consider this: Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Ohio passed “heartbeat” bills—laws to ban abortion after the baby has a detectable heartbeat. Before Gov. Brian Kemp signed the Georgia “heartbeat” bill in May 2019, a group of Hollywood actors signed a joint letter and sent it to the governor, promising to boycott Georgia should the heartbeat bill pass: We can’t imagine being elected officials who had to say to their constituents ‘I enacted a law that was so evil, it chased billions of dollars out of our state’s economy.’ It’s not the most effective campaign slogan, but rest assured we’ll make it yours should it come to pass’.” Yes, to a certain segment of society, aborting the baby IS a sacrament, if allowing a baby with a heartbeat to live is evil to them. What, then, is the likely and logical conclusion of this journey? Consider University of Colorado philosopher David Boonin writing in Beyond Roe: Why abortion should be legal—Even If The Fetus Is A Person. His argument is “laws that protect the unborn involve letting a person who ‘Has no right to use it’, use another person’s body.”

Keep digesting that last sentence! Laws that protect the not-yet-born are in direct opposition to the worship of “choice”–I can do what I want whenever I want as often as I want. That’s radical choice. Consequences? I can offload those to all the other taxpayers. Abortion as a sacrament is the worship of choice, but guess what? Radical choice is a cuckoo egg. Cuckoos are “brood parasites”, master deceivers – hiding their eggs in other species’ nests. To avoid detection, cuckoos have evolved to mimic color and pattern of their favored host-birds’ eggs. If host-birds do not reject cuckoo eggs, the newly hatched cuckoo chick ejects other eggs from the nest by hoisting them onto its back and dumping them over the edge. Then the poor beleaguered host mother ends up with a horribly demanding interloper chick that has just killed her own brood, and now requires and demands more food than the host’s own young. That’s what radical choice is.

After the triumph, the humbling.

“Lord, save me

When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men…….And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised? Judges 15:14 and 18. Samson, the super strong indefatigable judge chosen by God to save Israel from the philistines, just killed 1,000 enemy with the jawbone—triumph. Then he got so thirsty that he whined about “dying of thirst—the humbling.

Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 1 Kings 19: 1-3. Elijah, with God’s help, had just vanquished 400 prophets of the false idol of Baal, and then outran the evil king Ahab’s chariot—triumph. But once Ahab’s even more evil wife Jezebel threatened him, he cowered and split town —the humbling.

But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. The triumph. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” The humbling. Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:26-31.

Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same. – Matthew 26:33-35. As we know, Peter’s declaration of triumph didn’t survive the first punch in the face (thanks, Mike Tyson), he denied Jesus three times, but after the resurrection came the true triumph, which Jesus previewed when testing the apostles about his true identity. He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” – Matthew 16:15-19.

Charles Spurgeon writes, “Dear child of God, if after great mercy you are laid very low, your case is not an unusual one. You must expect to feel weakest when you are enjoying your greatest triumph. The road of sorrow is the road to heaven, but there are wells of refreshing water all along the route.” God alone is sovereign over your triumphs and trials, and when you might be puffed up over a triumph, God will humble you, so that you know whose victory it really is. The victory is always the Lord’s. The consequences of giving yourself the glory instead of God are not trifling. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to the people (of Tyre and Sidon). And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. Acts 12:21-23.

Or what happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Daniel 4:28-32.

GIVE GOD THE GLORY FOR YOUR TRIUMPHS AND YOUR HUMBLING!