Once again I’m laying out my brokeness before you. I hope that in showing you what I have learned it will encourage you to seek the truth of your actions and reactions that we may see ourselves as we are and grow in the grace and love of God. So here we go as the blinders come off . . .
This past week it has come to my attention – thanks to the Spirit – that when I get deeply hurt by someone pride becomes my best friend. She comforts me telling me how wrong they were, justifies my frustration, builds walls for protection from further hurt, gives counsel on how I should respond (all very justifiable), produces a copy-cat forgiveness, reassures me the issue is about them – not me, and keeps the situation focused on me ~ of course.
As I reflected back, I realized pride has been a faithful friend for years, but I didn’t see her true colors until this past week in this area of my life. I was surprised because she was so faithful that I never recognized her when she came around. I suppose I thought she was someone else.
The Spirit brought to mind a couple of different situations where she was controlling and needed to be taken out:
In one, pride reinforced her walls so that even though the pain was from the past, it was affecting the present. I held back and kept a safe distance emotionally for protection – when I didn’t need protection. But pride kept the memories fresh and the walls standing.
In the other, pride was giving all kinds of self-focused advice about how to respond to a friend’s judgments, condemnation and jealousy. And with pride’s thoughts filling my mind, my attitude and responses toward my friend lacked true love.
As the Spirit pulled off the deceptive veil of pride, this is what I learned.
As an example, here’s the second situation. My pride was trying to get me to abandon the friendship or at least have minimal contact with her because of how she was acting toward me. But the Spirit gave me different counsel – to stay in her life and love her. This is what He said . . . I need to not provoke my friend with areas where there is jealousy (He showed me what I did and how it affected her, because I didn’t realize what my actions and words were creating). I need to be sensitive to her struggles. I need to encourage and lift her up because she is so beaten down by others. I need to put my expectations about how I think the relationship should be aside. She needs the love of God to flow into her life, and the Spirit wants to use me to do that. Yes, I need boundaries, but I need to let the walls crumble that prohibited God’s love from flowing into her life through me. Boundaries allow the love to flow, and creates a healthy balance in a relationship. Walls block love. As someone commented on my last blog, if a friend stole money out of your wallet you wouldn’t leave your wallet laying around, but you don’t cut your friend out of your life either. Glup. Pride didn’t like that as I felt her power deflate.
As the Spirit guided me to what I needed to do, He filled me with the love and desire to want to do it. So “need to” became “desire to’. Incredible. Some of the hurt still remains, but the pride is fleeting. I have a feeling as I obey the Spirit’s lead in this situation, He will heal the hurt.
I can’t believe how selfish I was . . . well I guess I can because I’ve seen it before. It’s hard to see your flesh so clearly at times, but it’s the only way to fully turn from its ways to God’s. What never ceases to amaze me is as this raw reality of my actions was exposed, the Spirit gently encouraged me along. The Spirit doesn’t condemn us; He leads us to truth in love.
One of the many problems with pride is that all she creates within my thinking prohibits the flow of love, which is counter to God’s will for us. So the spirit is working on purging my hurt of pride and changing how I view these type of situations.
I’ve learned a very important lesson – when I get deeply hurt by someone, pride steps in posing as my best friend and governs my thoughts and actions. As a result love flees. I’m thankful for this awareness. I’m glad I finally saw pride, who comes in so many disguises, for who she is in this area of my life. I’m thankful for my eyes being opened to the state of my soul because only then can we truly be set free. The Spirit is a tremendous counselor if we will learn to listen and heed His instruction.
Pride and true love can’t co-exist.
1 Corinthians 13:4-6 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth
November 17, 2009 at 9:52 pm
I was listening to a sermon from D.A. Carson a while back and he gave a good example of how prideful and self-centered we are. When we have a conversation with someone that doesn’t go so well, what do we do ? We replay the conversation in our mind and then change the ending so that we come out looking great or the “winner” – we never replay it in such a way that we can better hear the other person’s point of view. Amazing but sadly true, at least in my case anyway.
“I’m thankful for my eyes being opened to the state of my soul because only then can we truly be set free.” – great quote Rachel – and it’s only when we get closer to God’s light that we see our state for what it really is. Pride is the only plant that seems to grow best in complete darkness…
Blessings to you 🙂
November 17, 2009 at 10:14 pm
Joe – never really thought about how we do that in conversations – interesting isn’t it . . . thanks for your comments!
November 18, 2009 at 4:38 am
Hi Rachel, good thoughts here. Pride can also be a bandage that we use to cover over our hurt so that we don’t have to deal with it now. I know at times when I get hurt by someone, I just turn away from them and put my thoughts somewhere else so I don’t have to think about what was done against me. That never works because the pain then never leaves!
November 18, 2009 at 5:33 pm
Marianne – what a great point that pride serves as a bandage, though not a good one – I find that true in my own life. Thanks for the further insight. 🙂
November 18, 2009 at 5:49 am
Your post has such a familiar ring to it. You have stated it so well.
I have spent years wrestling with pride over whether or not I did the right thing about this, or that. Now, I know that I must distrust my pride, but sadly it is something I often come to grips with after the fact.
It is one of the coolest things about fellowship with Jesus is that He supports us as we are making progress. When we stumble He picks us up, when we are moving forward, He is there encouraging us, confirming our direction. While it’s possible, even probable that progress in Spiritual things will draw criticism and contempt from the world, He is with us every step of the way. Such things help to separate us from our dependence on the approval of others, and cement us to His gracious love for us. These are the things which teach us to depend solely on Him, the true foundation.
Therefore it is a wonderful thing that He is shaking us up and bringing us down to humility, because without Him and what He is doing, we would never step away from our old buddy pride. We would never have the courage to walk away from such a source of (false) comfort. Without His guidance and healing we would be content to live in the fool’s paradise of self-righteousness and never have a clue that there was another way, a better way.
But, yes indeed, there is a better way, as you have illustrated, thank God and praise Him, there is.
November 18, 2009 at 5:36 pm
Nathan, what great thoughts you shared filled with encouragment and grace. Thank you.
November 18, 2009 at 5:57 pm
Hi Rachel, your post and Nathan’s comment both describe one of my many struggles. Pride is certainly a weakness of mine that I’ve always dealt with, but I think it’s really only been this year that the Spirit has revealed to me how much this sin permeated my life and way of thinking. Several experiences and the Spirit’s work in my life have been teaching me what it means to be humble. I know I still have a very long way to go, but I trust “that He which hath begun a good work in [me] will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
It gives me such great joy to know that we are His workmanship and that what we cannot do, He does for us for the glory of His Holy Name.
November 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm
Hi Ruth — isn’t it a complete peace and tremendous hope that we are His workmanship. What an awesome God.