“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” ― C.S. Lewis
I had messed up, and surprise of all surprises, my offense was perpetrated by my mouth. My heart was truly in the right place, but my mouth just runneth over. You may wonder, and rightly so, that if my heart was in the right place, how then, did I offend with my mouth? Well, sometimes (more often than I like to admit) good intended words, are not thought-out words. I am the world’s worst for telling people too much information and for digging too deep into their business. I forget that some people are not complete open books, and flat out do not want to be known thoroughly within the span of a 2-minute conversation.
This though, is not what God has laid on my heart to write about. It is my REACTION to my mess up that deserves a more critical investigation. You see, I was up all night over it. My angst over my sin came in three spheres. First, I was concerned that I had hurt this person in some way, offended them or caused them some embarrassment over being questioned so deeply by a complete stranger. This then, lead to condemning myself repeatedly for my impulsive nature and just flat out hating my words and lack of control in this area!! Just beyond all reason and logic, I was ill with myself. I mean, how could I? Am I not studying deeply the book of Proverbs which has much to say on words…Do I not know that where words are many sins are present (Proverbs 10:19), and why then, do I not learn? Why did I mess up? Why did I not apply the truth I know, and even teach? Why, oh why, did I sin? (Judging by your reaction to my self-recrimination would probably reveal quite a bit about you too; if you are thinking, “Well yeah, Dummy,” this article may be for you J)… Finally, and this is the kicker, and the most embarrassing part of my torment; I was SO concerned about what this person thought about me, because it is imperative that all must think I am really great, don’t you know…
While it was correct and right to be concerned about offending a brother or sister in Christ; ALL the other stuff was Satan taking me on a merry game of ME. Think about it… I was upset that I sinned because I knew better!! That is flat out PRIDE. There is nothing pretty about that. What, am I above sinning? Do I never mess up? What a joke!!! I still need Jesus as much now as I did during my reckless youth. As a matter of fact, you could the make the case that I need Him more now. Scripture says; our flesh continues to deteriorate. In Ephesians 5:22 we are admonished to lay aside our old flesh “that is being corrupted." Our flesh continues to be corrupted. It goes from yuck to super yuck. That is encouraging, isn’t it? J
Anyway, back to my soul-bearing; it is quite obvious that worrying over what this person thought was of course, absolutely PRIDE, as well. If I try to present an image of having it all together it is a lie. Guess what everyone? I mess up. I still sin. I do really stupid things, and do you know I struggle with being self-focused every SINGLE day?… Bill Stafford used to say, “6 minutes away from Jesus, and there is no telling what I might do." That is me. Any true Christ-likeness in my life is, and ALWAYS WILL BE, because I have died to myself. Christ is what is good in me; never me. I have a heart of flesh that wants to walk with Him; but I have nothing to do with that, it was given to me. Anyone who knows me will know this. Yes, I yearn to please my Lord, but sometimes the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
So what can we learn from this? Think with me on this: If we go overboard berating ourselves; are we not thinking too highly of ourselves? I believe Satan, in his parading as an angel of light, provides us with the deceptive thought of “Oh, we just hate to disappoint God” when in actuality we may just hate to fail. Sometimes, the real truth is much deeper than the surface….. Let God, by His Word and through His spirit show you, who you are, and what is truly motivating you, so that you may repent and come clean of the real issues.