Thursday, November 13, 2014

Living with Ourselves

I was surprised by my friend. He is humble – so able to admit his tendencies of self-aggrandizement. After all, it took the Lord years to burn away my denials, rationalizations, and positive affirmations so that I could see myself and to take responsibility for my “ugly.” I therefore asked him how he was able to achieve this understanding.

Mike answered that it had required years of self-examination and repudiation of the lies he had created for himself. However, he admitted that he still struggled with depression.

How could it be otherwise! To see ourselves as we truly are is painful. We therefore prefer to reside in a comforting lie rather than in the harsh truth. That’s why it is so difficult to come to self-awareness and self-acceptance, taking responsibility for our many moral lapses.

I revealed to Mike that I had rejected my best high school friend because I had become jealous of his popularity. However, I conveniently blamed him for the demise of our friendship. However, it was only through the assurance of the Christ’s love and mercy that I was enabled to see and confront my sin. Before, it had just been too painful to acknowledge my failures. I had to be right, but I wasn’t!

Mike was impressed by my candor, but I explained that I couldn’t take credit for any of this. Yes, I was now freed up to examine myself and to better understand others, but these changes clearly didn’t come from me! It was God alone who had released me from my shackles.

I wanted to give Him all the credit! Not only did He deserve it, but I knew that if I elevated myself instead, I would surely fall down. Besides, if I myself had achieved humility, it would have been pride – perhaps a pride even more insidious than my former pride.

I learned that I would be made to stand only by recognizing my Savior – that it’s all about His love. This has allowed me to redefine myself according to who I am in His sight and not according to the ever-shifting values of society – achievement, acclaim, power, money, and popularity.

How then was Mike able to stand without the identity that we can only have through a relationship with our Savior? He then said something quite profound and revealing:

·       Our notions of our self-importance and superiority are an addiction, but not like an addiction to drugs – something that we can entirely give up. Instead, our addiction to self-importance is like an addiction to food – something we cannot entirely surrender. Therefore, we need to substitute this addiction for something else that will give us a sense of our own worth and nobility.

So true! I had it, and he didn’t! He sees himself so clearly, but he can’t see that Christ is the answer, thereby condemning himself to more depression! Please for him. (Mike is not his real name!)

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