Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pride and Guilt

Tony Sumpter wrote an excellent post over at Credenda.org about pride and guilt that ties in with much of what has been both in and behind the posts on this blog. It would be good to read his entire post; but if you want the summary version read on.

Tony explains the relationship between pride and guilt...
One of the ways pride poisons his victims is through false guilt. One of the unintended consequences of thinking too highly of yourself is the reality of not meeting your own expectations. What does a proud person do when he or she knows that they are not as smart, not as gifted, not as diligent, not as beautiful as they have positioned themselves to be? What do you do when you look in the mirror and you realize that your projection of yourself doesn’t match reality? Well, like the idiot sons of Adam that we are, we frequently take what we think is the path of least resistance and we feel bad for ourselves. We feel guilty. But instead of feeling guilty for setting up legalistic super-standards for ourselves, we feel guilty for not meeting our legalistic super-standards. And we do all of this with Bible verses and pious thoughts and prayers. O, I know I should be sharing the gospel with every person I come in contact with, but I’m just so cowardly and selfish. Or I know my house should look like a model home on HGTV, but I’m just not as organized as I should be. Or I know I really should be using my theological gifts to write books and speak at conferences, but I just don’t use my time as wisely as I should. I know my children should recite Bible verse on command and never have a resistant look in their eyes, but I just don’t spend enough time with them or discipline them consistently enough.
The good news that repels this relationship between pride and guilt is the gospel.
But the good news of Jesus is freedom from guilt and sin. And this means in part that we are freed to be human. We are freed to be us. We are freed to be finite creatures. We are freed by the gospel to get tired. We are freed by the gospel to say ‘no’ to some things and ‘yes’ to others. We are freed by the gospel to be filled with the love of Christ to the very brim of our souls and spilling over, and then we can be fruitful in the tiny plot of planet earth that we’ve been given. We are freed to plant a garden, open a business, and have a family. We are freed to work hard and harvest the field that God has called us to. And since we’re sinners, we’ll screw that up sometimes too, and we’ll fall down on our faces. But the good news is that we can get up, ask for forgiveness and get back to work. But a big, sovereign God frees us to be little, humble people with bright eyes and laughing hearts.
I pray that the Lord will give me the grace to be fruitful and content in the tiny plot of land he has given me.

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