I’m Better Than You (Tim Challies)
Recommended reading alert (and don’t worry– it’s short… quite unlike this blog post!)
So much of this post resonated with me, which is a good but also not good thing.
This sounds all too much like me if I dig down deep into my flesh/heart:
But lately I’ve been considering one simple and disturbing aspect of this sin: I’m better than you. At least, this is what I believe in most of life’s situations. I’m just plain better than you. Somewhere deep inside I believe it’s true and too often I live and act like it’s true.
When you lead your ministry, I have trouble following because I see all the things you are doing wrong, all the ignorant decisions you are making.
When you are given a privilege or responsibility, something that puts you in a position of trust or authority, I am certain that the privilege should have gone to me.
I can see this sooo clearly in me and especially at work lately. At work, I have this air of superiority toward a certain person and I think it is unhealthily spurned on by others having the same air of superiority toward him therefore “justifying” my beliefs. And I know it’s not right, but I feel like I can’t fight it and truth is deep down I still do believe I am better/smarter/could handle things better or more efficiently.
So the blog seems to raise more questions than answers for me: What do we do with those feelings? What is the right response? And what if sometimes we are possibly right maybe not in the attitude in general, but about specificities and really do see how things can improve?
What is our/my response?
Do we fault-find and gossip and point out to others all the mistakes that are being made? Do we air our complaints to everyone but the person we are judging? Do we resent and look down on the other person in our hearts, considering how we are so much better? Do we treat the other person with contempt and pride when they try to give us instructions, not being open to their ideas or corrections, the possibility that hey I just might be in error too about in certain things?
So I know those are all the things I’m NOT supposed to do… and unfortunately all the things I usually do. So how should I respond? And to make it concrete I’m thinking narrowly about this work situation.
I think I’m called first off to pray. No, not even for the other person yet, but for my own heart toward this person. How does God see him? How does God see his ministry? As much as there are inefficiencies and yes even possibly sin issues too or at least places where he can grow, I really do think God is pleased. God is pleased with this brother and with his heart for the Lord, the population we serve, and our ministry. Does he fall short? Yes. But don’t I fall short too? Maybe not in the same exact ways, but in so many others?
Yes, I’m convinced, that when God looks at my brother, He is pleased.
So how should I see this person if God sees him this way? And if I am to correct him or point out his shortcomings to him, can I do it in love, with love for who he is, with a desire to really see good come to him? If God loves him, so should I love him. Because he is God’s creation, His chosen. Because I should be able to relate to him in the sense that I am just as lacking and fall just as short, maybe not in the same ways as him, but in other ways. I am just as offensive in my transgressions, if not MORE.
And that’s why I need to pray for my heart toward him. That God would show me His love for this brother and by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, give me His love for him. And that God would humble me. That He would help me to lay down my pride, my judging, my feelings of being better than this person. That He would help me have a clear view of myself in light of Him… not him.
Secondly, I’m to pray for my brother. Pastor Kyle always says,
Which do you do more: talk to man about God, or to God about man?
As much as I think I’m so smart/know exactly what to do, doesn’t God know even more? My words and corrections really have so little power. Only He can truly change, and bring conviction/life.
Do I pray for this brother? Do I ask for God’s blessing and grace and favor on him? Do I ask God to help him grow in the areas where he is weak? Quite honestly, only when Ms. A forces me to haha.
And so that’s part of the problem too and it really stems from the issues listed above: that my heart is not in the right place and remains in a state of pride and that I do not truly love.
Lastly, after these two things, only then, with love and discernment should I consider correcting him and talking to him directly.
Too often we tell others all the ways someone else needs to change, but we don’t actually tell the other person. And when it’s suggested that we do, we backtrack saying “oh no, it’s not a big deal, it’s fine, I’ll get over it.”
I still remember Jess Sato sharing with us that Pastor Jason rebuked her for that attitude and said something like “No, if it really is a sin issue, then you really should lovingly correct them.”
Now the keys are 1) correct them LOVINGLY (thus the need again for prayer) and 2) correct THEM. Don’t tell other people. Tell THEM.
I think I already mentioned this in another post, but as I ranted to Kenny about work a little while ago, I felt so convicted after. I justified my rant by saying well he’s my husband so I should be able to tell him anything I’m feeling and he’s a strong believer, he won’t be swayed by my complaining.
But God convicted me so deeply in my heart, in a way I’ve never been convicted about my words before, that we sow from what we speak. My words of complaint and fault-finding and arrogance had spiritual implications and were sowing spiritual things.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
I want my words to sow and reap life, therefore I need to be so careful about what I speak. I need to be careful about the things I say to others, and if I am to correct someone it needs to be done in all love and humility.
Anyway, this has turned into a tremendously long blog, which will hopefully bring more conviction to me specifically at work and generally.
Challies ends his blog by talking about why it matters to think about these things:
This makes us useless counselors. We are useless counselors unless we can counsel from Scripture and toward holiness rather than from our own arrogance and toward conformity to us. This makes us miserable because we are always convinced life would be easier and better if only others were more like us. This lessens our usefulness to God and his kingdom because we spend so much of our time lamenting all the things others are doing wrong rather than joining them in doing things their way. This increases our sin and hinders our holiness.