Monday, December 2, 2013

Prideful Shame

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. - Proverbs 31

I've always wanted this to be true of me. And I've always been frustrated by my efforts. No matter how hard I've tried to be a good “helpmeet”, to make my husband's life easier for him, I always seem to screw up and cause him more trouble. (He, of course, tells me otherwise, but what does he know.)

Over the weekend, I made our Christmas letter (a handwritten scrapbook page that I copy to mail out) and realized I'd left something out he wanted in. So I redid the page, made all the copies and stuffed them in the envelopes . . . and then realized I'd messed up his new job title. And then I opened the newly-arrived mortgage bill and found that I apparently didn't get the mortgage paid last month somehow.

I put down the mortgage bill and went out for a jog around the neighborhood with tears in my eyes. I hadn't slept well or eaten well during the Thanksgiving holiday, which may have contributed to my emotional state, but my pity party was real. How could I have missed getting the mortgage paid?? Forget about whether my husband was disappointed in me – I was now disappointed in myself.

I read something recently about spiritual pride. We usually think the proud person is the one who thinks they are so righteous, that God must be so happy to have them on His team. But it's just as prideful to think God is dreadfully disappointed in you.

Consider: I know that all of humanity is sinful, so sinful that we can not possibly live up to God's righteous standards apart from His Spirit making that happen within us. But I know that God is great. That He knows we are dust. That He loves every person despite their sins and foibles and failings, and He forgives us when we come to Him. That He casts our sins has far as the east is from the west.

Everyone's but mine. My particular sins are SO bad that God just can't get over them. They are far too heavy for that east-to-west casting. He knows that I, being more than dust and better than the dusty world, was capable of better, and so His disappointment in me continues beyond my repentance. He can forgive everyone else – but not me. MY sins are greater than God's capacity to love and forgive.

You see the pride there?

There was a day in my life, when my eldest was a baby, when I had done something to make my husband mad at me. I don't remember what it was, but I remember just hating myself and how I always messed things up, even when I was trying so hard to do the right thing. And I remember thinking to myself, “I'm always going to screw up; I just have to hope that someday, he will decide to love me anyway”.

Don't think I'm crazy or anything, but I swear I heard a voice that was almost audible: Long before you were born, I knew every screw-up you were ever going to make . . . and I decided to love you anyway.

I cried. And my life was changed. But I still need to be reminded.

No comments: