When I was a teen, I read a paper that deeply impacted me. I kept it and to this day it convicts me.
I wish I knew who wrote it, but it has no name. There was a piece on lukewarm Christians in the book “Crazy Love” written by Francis Chan that sounded similar to it, but whether this was written by someone else entirely, or whether it was adapted from Francis Chan’s writings, I’m not sure. However, I still wanted to share it today, for there is something huge we can learn from it:
Pride Vs. Brokeness
- Proud people focus on the failures of others and can readily point out those faults. Broken people are more conscious of their spiritual needs than of anyone else’s.
- Proud people have a critical fault finding spirit. They look at everyone else’s faults with a microscope but view their own with a telescope. Broken people are compassionate – they have the kind of love that over looks a multitude of sins; they can forgive because they know they have been forgiven much.
- Proud people are especially prone to criticize those in authority, they talk to others about the faults they see. Broken people encourage and lift up those that God has placed into authority and they talk to God, rather than gossiping about the faults they find in others.
- Proud people are self righteous; they think highly of themselves and look down on others. Broken people think the best of others; they esteem others as better as themselves.
- Proud people have to prove that they are right…They always get the last word. Broken people are willing to yield the right to be right.
- Proud people claim rights and have a demanding spirit. Broken people yield their rights and have a meek spirit.
- Proud people are self protective. Broken people are self-sacrificing and protect others.
- Proud people desire to be served, they want life to revolve around them. Broken people are motivated to serve others and to meet their needs before their own.
- Proud people desire to be known as a success. Broken people are motivated to be faithful and make others succeed.
- Proud people have a feeling that “This ministry is privileged to have me and my gifts.” Broken people know that all gifts come from God and on their own they can do nothing.
- Proud people are wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked. Broken people rejoice when others are recognized and lifted up.
- Proud people feel confident in how much they know. Broken people are humbled by how much they have to learn.
- Proud people are driven to protect their own reputation. Broken people are concerned with being real; they care less about what others may think than about what God knows.
- Proud people can’t bear to fail. Broken people can recognize and live within their limitations.
- Proud people are quick to blame others. Broken people can acknowledge where they were wrong.
- Proud people wait for others to come and ask forgiveness. Broken people take the initiative to be reconciled no matter how wrong the other party may be.
- Proud people are unapproachable or defensive when corrected. Broken people receive correction with a humble, open spirit.
- Proud people try to control the people and the circumstances around them. Broken people trust in God – they rest in him and are able to wait for him to act on their behalf.
- Proud people carry grudges and keep a record of those who have wronged them. Broken people are quick to chose forgiveness.
- Proud people want no one to find out when they have sinned; they cover it up. Broken people aren’t concerned about who finds out their sin, they are willing to be exposed because they have nothing to lose.
- Proud people tend to deal in generalities when expressing their sin to God (“Dear Lord, please forgive me for my sins.”) Broken people acknowledge specifics when confessing their sin.
- Proud people are concerned about the consequences of their sin. Broken people are grieve over the cause, the root of their sin. They are more concerned with how their sin has grieved God than the problem it has created in their lives.
- Proud people compare themselves with others and feel worthy of respect. Broken people compare themselves with the holiness of God and feel a desperate need for his mercy.
- Proud people don’t think they need to repent of anything. Broken people realize the need to maintain a continual heart attitude of repentance.
- The proud people reading this will be mostly thinking of others this may apply to and of who else should be reading this list, while broken people realize it applies to themselves.
This list forever changed me. In fact, it completely reshaped the way I viewed Christianity.
Because the truth is, every time I read this list, my thoughts can’t help but turning to others that should be reading it. And those thoughts testify against me: I am proud.
This way of thinking goes completely against popular culture, even popular church culture which says: “Look out for yourself!”
“Take care of your own needs first!”
“Make sure you get your rights!”
“Don’t waste your time on people who aren’t going to lift you up!”
And I wonder, what if Jesus would’ve used these attractive one liners? Where would we be then?
Where would I be then?
The God of “Look out for Yourself” is not in the Bible. The God of “Look what I can do!” isn’t there either. The God of “success and promotion” isn’t isn’t found in the ancient living word of God. The God that speaks, the God that lives, the God that we read about is humble, self sacrificing and absolutely broken for you and me. There is no limit to his love, there is no selfishness in him. He is gentle, he is meek, he is pure.
Don’t fall for the biggest idol out there: The man-made, self-serving Jesus, who benefits me NOW… who is like a church accepted ‘genie in a bottle’. God isn’t a doormat for you to use for your wishes when you please. He’s not a fairy godmother, waiting to make all your dreams come true.
He is a humble, serving, gracious and holy God who is ever searching for lives that will say yes to walking a very different road.
One that gives up my rights.
One that unconditionally loves those who mistreat them.
One that pours out their life as a living sacrifice.
One that puts others above themselves.
One that is humble and broken.
Oh, God, may I say yes to this strange, unpopular road you travelled. Help me to walk in your humble, self-sacrificing way.