So I read Pastor Terry's devotional today and it got me to thinking...
I don't claim to know myself all that well, but there's one characteristic that I know without a doubt I have. Tim Hawkins says that some claim it's their "gift". What? That's laughable. It definitely hasn't brought any happiness or peace in my life. And David could testify that hasn't brought any to his either.
It's absolutely horrible and does quite a number on self esteem, friendship, marriage, and church. It can keep me from using the true gifts that God has given me..."because really, if I can't do it perfectly then why even try?" It robs me of joy and appreciation for anything remotely close to annoying or imperfect... "seriously, it's raining again?"..."I sure wish the sun would go behind a cloud so I could quit squinting for a moment!" You're right. It IS pathetic. And most of all (in the friendship, marriage and church categories), I end up being just as critical of others and their actions, words, lives, etc as I am with myself... "because really, don't they know you just don't do that?" It's sort of oxymoronic to me why I think I'm in any place to judge others. Really, wouldn't my low self esteem and criticalness towards myself make me less qualified? But nevertheless, I end up judging others by the insanely high standards I force on myself. And...just like me, they never live up to them. Big surprise.
There's another aspect to this judgmental thing that really deserves a post all of its own. When I am ultra critical of myself and others, I am basing my judgement on action. Consequently, I end up rewarding good behaviour and judging bad behaviour (all based on my own crazy standard). Where is the grace in that? Seriously, it's not there. When I quit trying to make myself into something good, when I admit that I am as undone as the worlds worst sinner, then I can finally understand and accept God's grace to me. And only when I accept that God's goodness to me has nothing to do with what I have or haven't done, only then will I be able to share that undeserved goodness with others. Only then will I understand that I'm free from having to judge.
Ahhh....grace... I love it. And although these harsh truths about myself are humbling and hard to swallow, I feel blessed beyond words that God has shown this to me. Pruning is painful but I pray it continues.
Beauty from Ashes. Radiance from Ruins.