#6: Victimized Thoughts
The only way to fix my problem is for someone else to change.
There are few things in life that are more humbling than marriage. I really had little insight into how self-absorbed and prideful I was before I married my husband.
I slowly realized that becoming “one” with my spouse wasn’t a one-time event that happened at the altar. We often disagree on music, movies, what to have for dinner, and what temperature to keep our bedroom at night. Often, and in many ways, our thoughts, feelings, and desires are not in unison. I’m particularly tempted to judge my husband when I feel like housework isn’t being dealt with “equally” (as if that should be the goal...?). So, when the dishes don’t get done in the time and manner that I prefer, I get frustrated and shift the blame for the house being messy. In my head, I play the victim, and I behave as though it’s can’t really be my fault. Somehow, I manage to maintain this delusion, all while sitting next to a small mountain of unfolded laundry from several weeks ago that I haven’t yet bothered with.
“‘Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.’”
It’s so easy to see and judge another person’s shortcomings while ignoring our own failures. We do it in all of our relationships: with friends, family, coworkers, and strangers. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that this is anything less than pervasive, callous sinfulness. It is pride, vanity, and unrepentance. May God help when we become so comfortable in our own depravity that we don’t even see it!
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:8-9
Our grief over our transgressions should change our hearts, turn us from sin, and remind us of the mercy that God has lavished upon us through Christ. When was the last time you felt truly humbled? Were you humbled enough to repent and commit to change, or were you just disappointed and defeated? Did you make excuses and feel hopeless about your ability to change, or were you overwhelmed by God's grace and mercy, knowing you have freedom from sin?
When we remember what Christ has saved us from, humility will be woven into every word and deed, even when others sin against us. Whether we are moved to “cover over” or confront these sins in other believers, every interaction will be saturated in grace and mercy.
“One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”
Where false pride will make us look foolish, humility will never leave us ashamed.
For Further Study
Pastor Colin Smith has an excellent series on the Beatitudes called Momentum, In particular, this section from “Blessed are Those Who Mourn” has some really helpful ideas about what it means to be truly grieved by our sins.
What sins are you quick to judge in others, while being guilty of them yourself? How do you cultivate a spirit of humility in word and deed?