It is a curious thing, how our life circumstances teach us about the hidden aspects of ourselves. Those inconsistent behaviors we can easily see in others but remain a mystery as we review our own lives.
Last week, I had such a revelation.
It was early in the week when our lawyer called to let us know our documents were ready to sign. We made an appointment and headed to his office. The signing process took less than 20-minutes and we were back in the car headed home.
A few days later, my husband received a very formal email from the law firm. It informed us that during our brief stay in the office, we had “potentially been exposed to COVID.” One of the office staff lived with roommates that had both tested positive.
Everyone wore a mask, my husband and I are vaccinated, we stayed a good distance apart, and our exposure was short. Nonetheless, bomb dropped, message delivered, and all our meticulous efforts to protect those around us and ourselves, gone in one 20-minute encounter.
We communicated our potential exposure to those we had spent time with and waited the prescribed 5 days before testing. God is so good, we both tested negative, and here is where the reveal unfolds.
I started thinking about the past few months. The times I knew, I should wear a mask but didn’t want to appear rigid or offend others. The times I attended gatherings, took walks, or chatted over tea, mask-less. I succumbed to the perceived pressure of not wanting to appear inflexible or fear-filled. Perhaps I just wanted to fit in. Perhaps, just wanting to “fit in” is a masquerade for pride.
And there it is. The truth – I knowingly compromised to protect my pride.
As I reflected on my willingness to step around the truth in this situation, I thought about other times in my life when I willing gave away my integrity and placed my soul, my very essence, at risk.
Drumroll please, because this is where the revelation bounced hard off my forehead, hit my chest, and bruised my heart. If I am willing to take off a mask (or in some cases put on a façade) to maintain my image or keep my pride in tack, what else am I willing to concede?
Am I willing to compromise my,
After all, it is easier, safer, less stressful to blend in. I don’t like being perceived as unloving or self-righteous.
This unveiling has caused me to stop and wrestle with a single question. Are my convictions, my core belief system, in jeopardy when it becomes inconvenient, uncomfortable, or unpopular?
And this is what I am uncovering,
Pride is a powerful emotion. It can shift logical rational thought and objective decision-making to a desperate irrational reaction. A reaction that compels me to ignore the truth of who I am in Christ and be laser-focused on the desired outcome - protect image, maintain status, and feed other’s perceptions.
A poor reflection of the Christ that lives in me.
But there is a path that leads to freedom from our need to shelter and negotiate with ourselves. Paul offers this encouragement in the book of Romans,
“2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”
In place of our frantic rationalizations, God offers transformation – a new way of thinking, the ability to honestly assess our motives and make lasting change. We do not have to be held hostage to our emotions, fear of rejection, or desire to be more. We can gain freedom and train our minds to be more concerned about whether our behaviors and actions align with God’s design than protecting our vision of who we would like to be.
BeLoved, please “be honest in your evaluation of yourself.” If you find inconsistencies, a willingness to compromise God’s truth, take a minute to reflect, pray, and refocus.
God can change the way you think.
He loves you.
Please read Ephesians 4:22-32 and reflect on the questions that follow.
22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
New Living Translation
Consider the following.
- Have you ever compromised God’s truth, your beliefs, or given away your integrity to protect your image, pride, or status?
- If yes, how did you deal with the resulting war that waged within – the conflict between God’s truth that lives in you and your pride? Did you come to a new reckoning through the experience?
- Do you sense God is moving you to respond differently when faced with compromise in the future?
Pat Barrett – Sails (feat. Steffany Gretzinger & Amanda Lindsey Cook) (Live) – YouTube