Last month we talked about our marriage relationship and how to improve it. Today, I want to talk about the subject of other relationships, those we encounter day by day: family members, friends, neighbors, work associates, strangers.
How we interact with each other and how our attitudes are seen are important attributes of a Christian’s walk. I truly believe that the only way we can be the people God wants us to be is when we live as broken and humble people.
Listed below are some contrasts of the characteristics between proud, unbroken people who are resistant to the call of God on their lives with the qualities of broken, humble people who have experienced God’s revival. As you read these, ask God to reveal the ones of a proud spirit He finds in your life. And then confess these to Him, asking to replace them with the quality of a broken, humble spirit in you.
When I first read this list, I was overwhelmed. I had no idea that I had so many prideful ways. I hope you become convicted too.
Proud People: focus on the failures of others
Broken People: Are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need
Proud: A critical, fault-finding spirit.
Broken: Compassionate; can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgive.
Proud: Self-righteous; they look down on others
Broken: Esteem all others better than themselves
Proud: Have to prove that they are right
Broken: Willing to yield the right to be right
Proud: Wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked
Broken: Eager for others to get the credit; rejoice when others are lifted up
Proud: Feel confident in how much they know
Broken: Humbled by how very much they have to learn
Broken: Not concerned with self at all
Proud: Keep others at arms’ length
Broken: Willing to risk getting close to others and to take risks of loving intimately
Proud: Quick to blame others
Broken: Accept personal responsibility and can see where they are wrong in a situation
Proud: Unapproachable or defensive when criticized
Broken: Receive criticism with a humble, open spirit
Proud: Sorry when their sin was found out or they were caught
Broken: Truly, genuinely repentant over their sin, evidenced in the fact that they forsake that sin.
Proud: They don’t think they have anything to repent of
Broken: Realize they have need of a continual heart attitude of repentance
Proud: They have a hard time saying, “I was wrong; will you please forgive me?”
Broken: Willing to be open and transparent with others as God directs
Proud: Compare themselves with other and feel worthy of honor
Broken: Compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel a desperate need for His mercy.
Proud: Blind to their true heart condition
Broken: They walk in the light
Proud: Have a drive to be recognized and appreciated
Broken: Have a sense of their own unworthiness; thrilled that God would use them at all
Proud: Desire to be a success
Broken: Motivated to be faithful and to make others a success
(taken from Revive Our Hearts series, Brokenness – The Heart God Revives by Nancy Leigh DeMoss)
Again and again in the Scripture, we learn that God “resists the proud” but He pours grace on the humble. And, He comes to the rescue of the humble.
“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” I Peter 5:5-6
As we begin to check on our spiritual condition listed above, we also need to make changes in how we show love and caring to others. Without a “heart change” we are unable to fully love others and be there for them. Do you argue too much? Do you criticize others? Do you ever find yourself hating or disliking people? If so, acknowledge that these attitudes need an adjustment.
Then, when you do begin to develop the right attitudes towards others, show it by actions. Perhaps you could hug your loved ones more. Research shows that hugging relieves stress, boosts feelings of closeness, and even squelches pain. In one study, when people were assigned to give five daily hugs for a month, aiming to hug as many different people as possible, they became happier.
An extraordinary 80-year-old study has led to some unexpected discoveries about long life: watch your attitude! As we discussed above, and as this study revealed, we need to have the right attitudes:
1. Give more to live more. A strong social support system is no secret to long life. But it turns out that it’s what you do for them that count. Those who would lend a helping hand lived the longest.
2. Stress isn’t so bad. The people who thrived were the ones who didn’t try to relax or retire early but who took on challenges and were persistent.
3. Be friends with the right kind of people. Join groups and choose hobbies or jobs that lead you naturally to healthier patterns and activities.
4. Be conscientious. These were the people who lived the longest in the study.
I pray that this week’s blog touches you in a different way – that you truly see where you may need to go to the Lord and ask for forgiveness in any way you may have been prideful.