There are some experiences in life that can very quickly humble you low. These bring you down a notch or two and sometimes more. Things like living through war, abuse, trauma, breakups, divorce, bad marriage fit, loss of a loved one, loss of a valued pet, loving more than you are loved, or something as simple as slipping too heavily into a movie. Whatever your selection, it generally involves some level of pain, sometimes deep, sometimes less so. And it leaves the feeler of the pain empty, demoralized, low, hurting, pained, lost. You see, pain often brings at least momentary humbleness. And these immense burdens are difficult to bear but may be used as lessons. That same experience can either make or break you. Being humble is preparing your life for the next thing, preparing the person to either accept the lesson and learn from it and make better decisions next time and acknowledge God in your life or the opposite, becoming more self focused, feeling drained, being permanently damaged, blaming God, etc. And you know only one tiny thing lies between those two options. Your decision. You set your mind and heart to whichever you desire. It reveals your inner heart, it shows your true self and desires, it exposes you. There is a great scene in Lion King where the lion is talking to the monkey about his pain. The monkey hits him and talks to him. Then he tries to hit him again and the lion ducks. And the monkey said you can run from it or you can learn from it. We will gravitate toward what is easiest- hide, protect, run, blame, cover up, retreat, self medicate to feel better again. But you can never go back to how you were before entirely. That is not how it works. You have to pull together all the courage you can muster and remember the truth of the Bible you read and memorized and pray and get back up again, moving forward wiser and with a new tool you can use when you need it. You can only be more equipped to survive something big if you survive something little first. It builds self confidence or self hate, depending on your decision. One feeds the soul and matures the individual, while the other not only prevents growth and wisdom but removes some of what you had. Being humbled is a good thing. I have come to embrace it as much as I once detested it. It is a way to growth and freedom. There is always a price to be paid to learn but learning is always worth that price.
I just read this book to my daughter, who is 4 1/2. She saw it coming… “Why did the fly go into the spider’s parlor? She knew he was bad.” She asked the questions. I thought about that for a while. Why do we risk the danger for the flattery or hope of flattery? Why take the chance that the fly took just to tempt fate and meet the same demise the fly did by the deceptive flatterer, the spider. We have many flatterers daring us to tempt fate also. Some are honestly only semi-nice. Most are wonderful, soupy nice until they get their way. It is this way with temptation, with lust, with gambling, with pretty much every aspect of our lives. We are lured and tested and we play with it. We toy with the idea, entertain it too long. We come willingly into the spider’s parlor and are then surprised when bad things happen. Don’t get me wrong, bad things happen to everyone, not just those toying with badness, but there are negative consequences to negative behavior- either now or later. And we must always exercise caution in our choices and not fall for flattery or vain promises. My answer to my daughter’s questions was “Pride.” As I explained, she seemed to get it. “Pride goes before a fall.” When we are proud, we want to be stroked, be attended to, be taken care of, we feel deserving. And while we all have specialness and special God given talents and pursuits, we are still prone to badness and cannot handle that alone. We still all need a Savior, and thank God we have One for the asking. And maybe with His help and our willful decision, our pride won’t draw us into the spider’s parlor.
We all have a choice. Every person God made has been granted the enormous responsibility of free will. This means they decide for themselves whether they will be mean or nice or flip flop back and forth between the two. A mean person can not be changed into a nice person unless they choose to be. You can not push a rope. You can coerce or force good behavior but that only gives the mean person more of an excuse to be mean in their own mind’s self-justification. And these poor people are so rooted in ignorance and denial, lie upon lie, that they can not even comprehend goodness when done to them. So, as a person trying to be good, the absolutely only thing I can do is decide for myself to be good, do good to the mean person and pray for them to change. God can do more than we can. Many people need a swift kick from Him to change. A swift kick from us will make us feel better at the time but in the long run only furthers their cause and fuels their meanness. So, pray for your enemies really is the ticket and work on self. (That being said, in any real physical or mental danger, self protect and remove yourself from the situation, then pray for them.) This is all we can really do that is effective in the long run. Mean people will be mean if they choose to be. Selfish people will be selfish if they choose to be. Choose to be good and pray and you are automatically a light in the world, a hero making a grand difference. Be that hero.
I have a friend in a relationship for years with children who just found out he had been cheating on her. Now he’s gone and she is scrapping to care for herself and her kids and he’s living large and happy with his new victim until something better comes along. Herein lies a warning. This is not an uncommon story. Most of us have lived it at some point to some degree. God instructs us in His Word not to limit us but to protect us. If you wait to have sex until you are married, this pain can still happen to you and does for some, but it is less likely than when no commitment is in place. But apart from a commitment in place, another key element to any healthy relationship with each other is strong relationship first with God. When you come into a relationship needing something, you will end up needing more because relationships take, they require energy. When you are content and have peace and joy in life with a healthy relationship with God, you can come together with someone else of like faith and wholeness and then you have something. As long as the first priority is God, the relationship will thrive. If He is not, it is a craps game, a game of chance, luck of the draw. I would rather put my money on something sure. It is always a choice. We always have the power to choose yes or no. Whichever it is, really weigh pro’s and con’s. And all the requirements need to be there or it is no. It is not one of those balance sheets. It is all or say no and wait. Then you have exhibited wisdom. Foolishness goes in blindly based on feelings and needs. Wisdom goes it strong in the Lord knowing you must have someone strong in the Lord for it to be secure. No lies, no games. Honesty is vital. If any words do not match action, assume no word match action and walk away. Guard your precious heart, for the Holy Spirit lives there. Protect yourself and allow God to guide this huge decision. He will if you ask Him to.
I am a doctor of audiology. My job is to help people with their hearing and balance troubles. Most of the people who finally walked through my door came with exasperated spouses or other family members most of the time. I would find out the reason for the problem and give options on how to fix it. Now, it struck me odd at first that so many patients would have the information before them and still deny a problem, causing greater frustration to their loved ones and not doing them a lick of good either. And it came to me this morning that no one will ever decide to hear the facts or admit there is a problem or go about trying to solve said denied problem until THEY are ready to make that decision for themselves. You can not push a rope. There are times in our lives when you want so much to help someone you love. And there are times when you reach a frustration level second to none where you want to shake them and scream let me help you. And that person will just never decide to hear you or care about your love. This is so sad and so personal. We all are experiencing this on some level daily with lost souls or family members. So, what are our options? One is to leave, of course, which is why divorce rates are so high and people are estranged from family members. Another option is to force your way, which many people choose and even more bitterness ensues. The best option and the one I choose is to stay and be a quiet light in their lives. God loves us when we were the ugliest just as much as He does when we clean up very well. And if His Holy Spirit is in us, whatever He shows us how to do, we can also do. He empowers us. We just have to decide that that is that person’s free will right to accept truth or keep screwing up with lies after lies and they may never ever change their mind. However, they might with quiet love beside them and unconditional love around them. And God can help give opportunities and wisdom to say or do the right things at the right times for the right reasons. We must always remember that we are sinners saved by God’s perfect grace and there was a time we didn’t make good choices either. Be patient. Be love.