I recently came across some great quotes about swallow pride. Here's my quote, combining all the points, and adding some.
"No one ever choked to death, got indigestion or gained weight swallowing their pride. In fact, many have been able to live longer, fulfilled lives, having peace at their core and with lightness that comes from unloading the burden that the sin of pride creates"
I started writing this post yesterday, but put it aside for "family time". At church this morning, the message Pastor Dave Hill preached was on the exact subject of this blog so I know this is the "word for today".
I had an incident happen this week where I had to call a business I had given money to make something. They were supposed to have it about a month ago and not only did they not get it done, but couldn't tell when or even IF they could. I was told by the person who ordered for us that they wouldn't refund either. This was a time sensitive situation, after a certain date I wouldn't need the item anymore. I told the man I wanted my money back, he argued a bit, but then said he would let me know by Monday. After hanging up, I felt bad because I think the guy thought I was rude. It bothered me so I tried to call him back immediately to apologize. I didn't get ahold of him for a couple of hours and during that time, my mind went through the usual arguments. Do I really need to apologize? After all, HE was being wrong and had attitude. So on and so forth. But I really felt like God would be pleased and it was the right thing to do. I finally got through and was able to apologize and he seemed shocked and thankful.
It was really easy for me to apologize, because being right with God and at peace with myself mattered most. I have been thinking alot about this subject lately and how it pertains to my life.
My life consists of 2 huge parts - BEFORE I became a Christian (birth thru freshman/sophmore year in college) and AFTER I became a Christian (then until now). I will address both.
BEFORE CHRIST - I didn't know better. Truth is I'm sure I hurt, offended and angered people. I don't think I ever intended to, but I was selfish, young and careless. As a parent, I see how cruel words, actions and attitudes can be during junior high and high school. I wonder if there are former classmates that are still holding something against me. I remember being 15 and literally thinking I knew everything. I didn't. I wonder now, did I do something to someone that altered or hindered their ability to live a good life. Yes, I was young, but still, some things linger and if it's at all with in our power, we should do what we can to make it right.
AFTER CHRIST - I can say the first 5 years were about trying "not backslide", then growing, learning and working through learned behavior that didn't line up with God's word. I know in this season I hurt alot of people because I had the title "christian", but my behavior didn't always line up. Sometimes it was because I was struggling to obey God and other times it was my heart to show people Christ, but my lack of know how got in the way. Either way, I am a different Christian today than I was then. Let me say, I'm not the type to INTENTIONALLY hurt people. There are many who are and I will address that later. Regardless, once the damage is done, I can either wash my hands like Pilate because I don't want to deal with it (you will know this is you because you hide behind scripture like "There is therefore no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus" Romans 8:1) or do my best to make it right so that everyone involved can have a chance at peace.
My nature is and has always been to deal with it, whether big or small. I know people who hurt people intentionally and then want to walk away using a twisted version of scripture to never be accountable for their actions. God is not mocked and justice comes. I would rather be one who swallows pride and shows the power of Jesus through humility and forgiveness, no matter what it takes.
MY LIFE AS A LEADER: I can say with a clear conscience that I have never set out to hurt anyone. I fear God too much to misuse His pulpit or His people. But the nature of what I do has often put me in situations where I have to tell people things they don't want to hear, like when someone asked me to pray for their dead family member to be saved. I had to tell that grieving person that I couldn't pray for the dead. Or when I had to tell a woman she couldn't remain a leader once I found out that she was not married to the man she called her husband, but both were in fact married to other people! Each of these people I'm sure felt a measure of hurt and for that I'm sorry, but my heart was not to HURT them.
There may be others that feel like I hurt them and I might not even be aware of it. I recently reconnected with someone like this. Thank God she gave me a chance to explain, answer some questions and ask for forgiveness. While what I did was unintentional ( I was trying to help her), it did in fact deeply wound her. Now, years later, God gave me the beautiful opportunity to make it right.....and I did. She graciously forgave me and I thank God for that.
I WILL NEVER APOLOGIZE: I will never apologize for the Word of God or for wisdom and truth that could set someone free. I have sat in front of people, given them flat out scripture, and been told God would never say that because it hurt them. God loved them so much that He was trying to warn them that their sin was going to catch up with them and they rejected it because it didn't make them feel good to hear it. For this, His word, for speaking up and trying to save someone from judgment....I will never apologize.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. (God, may I always seek and leave room for You!)
Proverbs 29:23 Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. (God, I humble myself before you.)
I would like to end with this.....If I have ever hurt or offended you, I want to say "I'm sorry". If it is something that you want to tell me more about, then please feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you are a part of the BEFORE or AFTER I became a Christian years, I would love to hear from you. I'm not too proud to answer for my actions or to make it right if at all possible. I beg you, give me a chance to make things right. As I stated before, there are some things I will never apologize for, but what does it cost me to make peace with someone else if its within my power? I want to go into this next season of my life knowing I hold only the debt of love.