I sat down a week ago and fingers flew across the keyboard as I typed my thoughts about the need for the Church to reform. A key thought I typed was how it was important that we stop looking at the splinters in the eyes of those in our world around us (the unchurched and the churched) and attend to the massive plank in our own eyes. The overriding thought I had was that the church was never meant to be a perfect place where the struggling didn’t feel comfortable walking in the doors and being real, but rather it is meant to be a hospital for the hurting and a place we can all come to to be lovingly walked forth into healing and freedom.
I was feeling pretty passionate and sure of myself as I typed. By bedtime that night I had come face to face with a plank lodged in my own eye.
Out of the Heart the Mouth Speaks
Out of our hearts our mouths speak. Things we don’t even know we are feeling will come out through offhand comments when we least expect it and we can find ourselves asking, “where did this even come from?” I had one of those moments and without meaning to made my husband feel very judged. Just when I thought I was doing so good I go and put my foot in my mouth. The irony of this situation is not lost on me.
As my husband expressed his on-point perceptions, I could feel my defensive walls trying to erect themselves. I wish I could say that I immediately repented to him but before I realized it, things were spilling out which were reflections of my thoughts that were even more judgemental in nature. In short, I continued to dig my hole even deeper.
Of course we talked these things though as we are called to do by Christ. God did some pretty cool things in the midst of the conversation and it seemed to be a very productive night.
God’s Loving Correction
I went to bed that evening feeling much better about the situation and thinking it was resolved and in a better place. God had bigger plans and wanted to work in the midst of that situation beyond what I had in mind. Quite simply put, He wasn’t going to let me off the hook as easy as I thought.
I’m learning that He uses our circumstances to bring things to the surface that need to be healed by Him. As I slept, Holy Spirit spoke to me. While I slept, He proceeded to tell me that I was not trusting my husband, that I was not honoring my husband the way that I, as a follower of Christ, am called to do. He proceeded to tell me that I was being controlling and owed my husband a sincere apology from a truly repentant heart.
I woke up the next morning and the first thought to hit my mind was, “I need to apologize again”. Groggily making my way to the coffee pot to give him a morning hug, what words do you think came out of his mouth?
“We need to talk,” he said.
“Yes, we do,” I agreed.
Now, I wanted to jump straight into how God had convicted me of my wrongdoing. I wanted to avoid feeling corrected, but God didn’t let me off that easy. I heard Holy Spirit say, “No, you let him tell you what he needs to tell you. Submit to him as a wife is called to submit to her husband.” This chafed a bit.
A recovering perfectionist who gets very upset at myself when I mess up, I so wanted to avoid the pain of that experience. I wanted to jump straight to just taking over the conversation and controlling it by voicing everything that I needed to voice, but I knew in my heart that he needed to be listened to and I needed (not wanted) to have to listen and acknowledge the pain I had caused him.
It was humbling. It was hard. As I sat there I made a choice to let myself feel heartache for the pain I caused. I chose to let the feeling of remorse come as opposed to shielding myself with anger or thoughts of justification….and after I heard him out I chose to obey Holy Spirit and say the words that we all need to hear in these situations. “I was wrong and I am so sorry.”
I’m not going to lie. My flesh didn’t like it one bit. The term “crucifying our flesh” is very appropriate. It’s a bit painful. However, dying to self is part of the process of transforming into the image of Christ.
Transformation Through Repentance
Relationships are messy. We will make mistakes in our humanity, and God will use even our mistakes to continue the good work He began in us.
Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. He would like nothing better than to steal our marriages, kill the good work that God has started in us and destroy our witnesses for Christ through the weapon of pride.
We can choose to give in to Satan’s fiery darts of pride and fight God’s process of sanctification or we can humble ourselves before others and before God, lay down our pride and repent. In this process we have to examine our hearts with honest eyes. Pride has never served me well. Repentance always results in healing and heart transformation.
Father God, thank you that you are always teaching us even through our mistakes. Give us ears to hear your voice and help us recognize the fiery darts of the enemy. Help us to recognize the shields that you desire to strip away and give us courage to feel every emotion you have called us to feel. May our hearts break with Holy heartache and repentance when we wrong others. Thank you for your conviction which actually always serves to help us overcome the evil schemes of the enemy to bring about destruction in our lives. Thank you that you turn our human failures into opportunities to transform us into your image. May we never fear your loving correction.
Scriptures for Meditation
~ James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
~ Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
~ Psalm 10:4
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
~ Proverbs 11:2
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
~ James 4:10
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.