“This is where I see pride in your life . . .” my “friend” said to me. Seriously???! I wasn’t feeling too friendly towards her after I heard this, I must confess.
You see, I’ve been working on this issue of pride in my life for a very looooong time and to be honest I thought I had nipped it in the bud. Obviously from her perspective, I hadn’t.
I walked away from that conversation boiling with anger. “How dare she judge me when I see the same thing in her life?” (At least that's what I wanted to think.) But I had asked for it and she had given it.
I work for a church and as a staff member I was encouraged to go through a process of evaluating my spiritual life. I was to answer questions myself and then have three other people evaluate me as well. I specifically chose people from different areas of my life so that I could get a thorough perspective. You know how that is, the people at work don’t see you the same way as the people you live with at home.
I asked my husband if he would do it and he adamantly refused. (Okay, that says a lot . . . ) I finally persuaded him to do it by promising that I would not go after his jugular if he answered in ways that I didn’t agree. I asked my teenage son to evaluate me as well and to be honest, I was expecting him to slaughter me. The final person was my friend and co-worker, the least of my worries, or so I thought.
As I read over my friend’s evaluation I wondered why she had answered some of the questions the way she did, so I asked if she would be willing to sit down with me and explain. She graciously took me up on the offer and so I was left reeling by her comments to me.
Even though I found myself angry and hurt by her words, I couldn’t help but wonder if what she said was really true. I acknowledge that pride has been an issue for most of my life. Years before this conversation God had begun to convict me about how I name dropped and “handed out my résumé” to everyone I talked with. (In case you’re wondering what handing your resume looks like, for me it was sharing my accomplishments, laying claim to my ideas, and basically boasting in who I was and what I had done.) I had been working diligently at giving this area of my life over to God, surrendering it to Him and I thought I was doing pretty well.
I think that’s why this conversation caught me so off guard. As I put this question - is what she said really true - to the Lord, I had a flashback to a time when someone had taken my idea and used it. Instead of verbally taking credit for it (which was my regular habit), I mentally did. I didn’t say anything to that person but in my head I couldn’t help but pat myself on the back and say, “That was my idea!”
As God brought more and more of those times to my attention, I began to realize that even though I wasn’t boasting out loud, I was boasting in my heart and it was oozing out my pores. I didn’t have to say anything to convey what I believed, my body language, my attitude, and my actions said it all. And my friend had picked up on it.
As I began to realize how true her comments were to me, I was hit with another daunting question. If this is a heart issue, how am I ever going to rectify it?
God was patiently waiting for me to ask this question and surprise, surprise – He had the answer!
I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:1-3
When I’m tempted to fall back into old habits and old patterns, I want to remember these verses and to give praise to the One in whom it is due.
What about you? Do you struggle with this as well? Will you join with me in memorizing these verses so that when the temptation arises, we will remember in whom we should boast?
Pride is insidious, my friend, it takes many forms and it will never ever turn our hearts toward God.
So let’s not let pride keep us from the privilege of knowing the heart of God.