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Posts Tagged ‘apologize’

Taking a long look in the mirror today. Probably should do it more often. I have a problem and except for God, no one can help me solve it. My problem is pride.

img_2356As a wife, mom, ministry leader, co-worker, I need to know about a lot of things. People count on me to keep track of details and schedules, managing minuscule bits of information for later retrieval. The problem is I think I need to know a lot about everything…things that are none of my business. I think about how I would solve a certain problem, and tell others my way. I think about how I would respond to someone’s issue, and then communicate it, even though it’s none of my concern. I poke my nose into other people’s problems and most are too nice to tell me to “butt out.”

I have a tendency to think my way of doing things, saying things, thinking things, is always the best way. Pride is a beautiful, ugly monster. The two-sided coin of believing in myself, but knowing I am but clay in the hands of the Master Potter. My trust cannot be in my own abilities, but in the Creator God who formed me in my mother’s womb. Ego is necessary for life…but without that mirror of self-reflection, it becomes a weapon of destruction.

Dan Rockwell writes a daily leadership blog that I find fascinating. His blog on the 10 Practices of Humility for Egotistical Leaders is one I need to read at least once a month. Probably should post it around my house and office too. He begins with the six symptoms of egotistical leadership…things like: ego thinks “I” and “me”…ego can’t be wrong…ego dismisses criticism and correction…and my personal favorite (cringe)…ego listens with a personal agenda. “What’s in it for me? How does this make me look? Who can I blame?”

So today I’m looking in the mirror – truly seeing the pride that has become a problem in all facets of my life and asking God to forgive me, give me a new heart of humility, to serve others before myself, to show Jesus to the people I’m surrounded by every day. I pray He shows me people I need to apologize to – for offending them – even unintentionally. I’m hoping He gives me opportunity to shine His light on others. Am I self-serving or others-serving? Because if I’m a leader, a co-worker, wife, mom, or “whatever” – I need to think “you”…not “me.”

Pride

 

 

 

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Yesterday I gave a kids’ sermon to the children at our small town church. I usually try to come up with some sort of object lesson to help the teaching stick with them. Almost always I get good feedback from the adults in the congregation because, taking a page from “what would Jesus do”, I’ve found telling stories is the best way to communicate truth about God, no matter what age I’m teaching.

toothpasteIn yesterday’s sermon, I used a tube of toothpaste. I had one of the older children squeeze out as much toothpaste as they could onto a paper plate. Then I asked him to put it all back. Of course he told me he couldn’t. None of the other children volunteered to try either, except the one smarty who told me she could with some sort of vacuum. Kudos to the problem solver. She’ll probably be an engineer some day.

The purpose of the lesson was to illustrate that speaking out without thinking is much like squeezing out that toothpaste.  Once those words are spoken, it’s almost impossible to get them back. I encouraged the kids (and the listening adults) to choose their words carefully, and if they speak hurtful or angry words, to quickly apologize. Most of us don’t realize the power we have with our words. I even told the kids their words can sometimes hurt their moms’ feelings. Yes, moms have feelings. There were a few significant looks exchanged between daughters and moms at that gem of truth.

Left that little 5-minute lesson feeling pretty good. I’d passed on some truth, encouraged kids to be kind, laughed a little over squeezed out toothpaste and sat down. This morning I got a little frustrated over some circumstances beyond my control. How did I respond? Did I remember my own sermon? Did I get all spiritual and think, “O Lord – You have prepared me for this moment. I will respond in kindness and compassion, just as Your Word teaches. I will love and honor my fellow man.”? Nope. Not even close.

I lost it. I chose (yes – it was my choice) to pass on my frustration through angry words in a conversation with one of my favorite people on the planet. It took a long walk around my city (and a cold iPhone battery leaving me with no walking music) to allow the Holy Spirit to show me my failure. And I learned a lesson of my own.

I’m not a rock star. I’m not a superhero. I’m not a great Bible teacher. I’m a flawed human being who needs the grace of God to exist in relationship with others. My pride took a hit today…and I really hope I’ve learned this lesson so I don’t have to revisit it again tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day. But I know a few things about God and I know He wants me to pass this test so I can move on to something else. So – as I’m trying to cram toothpaste back into the tube, will you give grace to those who may lose it on you today? Most everyone has a story we don’t know. Face value is rarely accurate. And, if you can think fast enough in the face of frustrations, try to choose life-affirming words. Toothpaste is a real mess to clean up.

James 3:4-6 – “It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.”

P.S. – I apologized and thankfully, I was forgiven. I think the heart emoji helped.

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