Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

Archive for the tag “self-absorbed”

ISSUES EXIST…LOVE ENDURES

I have issues. It bugs me when people stand really close to me. I don’t like people messing with my hair. It drives me crazy when, in an empty public restroom with a dozen open stalls, the next person in chooses the stall right next to me.

Like I said…I have issues.

I have bigger issues than the ones I mentioned above, however. I’m stubborn—and it’s not easy to overcome. I’m arrogant—and it’s a daily battle within me to keep my ego in check. I don’t have a stellar bank account or the perfect marriage. And my kids are on pace to be every bit as flawed as their mother. Oh joy!

Like I said…I have issues. I’m not proud of them. I’m not flaunting them. I wish I didn’t have them. But the truth is I struggle with them just like you struggle with yours.

Everybody has issues.

Your friend has issues. She’s insecure as all get out. Your spouse has issues. He/she is arrogant, insensitive, and controlling. Your co-worker has issues. She’s overbearing and doesn’t let you get a word in edgewise. Your neighbor has issues. He lies constantly. You wonder why he feels the need to do that. The lady in your bible study has issues. She’s got a root of bitterness bigger than Dallas, but hides it as best she can. Your nephew has issues. He’s into pornography, but doesn’t see the harm in it.

Everybody has issues. And issues present us with an interesting enigma.

The question is, can you see past my issues? Can you overlook your co-worker’s issues? Can you embrace your neighbor despite his issues? Can you be kind to the lady in your bible study regardless of her issues? Can you get along with your friend even though she has issues?

Here’s what I have found to be true in this interesting enigma: issues exist…but love endures. At least a Christ-like love does.

Issues Exist Love EnduresJesus loved His disciples—all quirky, ill-equipped and flawed twelve of them. I don’t know if that was easy for Him or not. My guess is He wore thin of patience with a few every now and then because you know what? They had issues. Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Maybe they were easier to love than His disciples. But Martha certainly had issues, and Jesus brought those into light.

Jesus also loved the rich young man who ended up walking away from Him—materially wealthy, but eternally bankrupt. Ouch!

Jesus had compassion on all sorts of people who had all sorts of issues. He hung out with sinful people. He touched “unclean” people. He embraced the ones who were far from perfect. He did life with people who were self-absorbed, broken, messed up, whacked out, and didn’t buy what Jesus was selling.

They had issues. They had struggles. They had challenges. They had problems. They had difficulties. Their lives were not pretty little packages wrapped up with pretty little bows. And truth be told, neither are ours.

Can we have compassion like Jesus did on others who have issues? Can we hang out with people like Jesus did who are far from perfect? Can we do life with people like Jesus did who have hang-ups, problems, and struggles? Can we embrace people like Jesus did who don’t even acknowledge Jesus?

Can we love like Jesus? Regardless…in spite of…even though…
Issues exist. Love endures.
Go love like Jesus!

 

10 Indicators of Arrogance

G. Gordon Liddy, a Watergate conspirator, spoke these words after his release from prison in 1977: “I have found within myself all I need and all I ever shall need. I am a man of great faith, but my faith is in G. Gordon Liddy. I have never failed me.”

Holy cow! Isn’t that the second craziest thing you’ve heard today? I don’t think I could stomach being around Gordon very long. How in the world can anybody be that self-absorbed?

Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it happens all the time. And I know most of us think narcissism is a new thing, but truthfully it’s an age-old problem. Listen to this: “But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him…” (2 Chronicles 32:25). Hezekiah was a king back in the Old Testament. He was good and godly and there was no other king like him. At one point he was about to die, so he prayed, and God gave him an extra 15 years of life. But rather than being appreciative, he became arrogant.

10 Indicators of a Proud Heart

So how does a good, godly king blow it like Hezekiah did? I don’t really know. But what I do know is this: pride is a creeping vine called “me, myself, and I.” And if not rooted out right away, this creeping vine can spread and take over our good and godly character. Just ask Hezekiah. And Solomon. And David. And the Pharisees. And the Disciples.

As I ponder the arrogant people in Scripture, they’re not at all different than the self-absorbed people I know today. As they say, “it takes one to know one.” So I’m ashamed to say I see myself all over these character traits. As I reflect on the issue of pride, I’ve come up with 10 indicators of arrogance. Ten characteristics that indicate we might have a slight issue with arrogance. Check it out:

10 Indicators of Arrogance:

  • Deceived into believing we are “flawless” or not as flawed as others
  • Trusting in our own strength, knowledge, talents, skills, etc.
  • Stubborn, rebellious, and unwilling to submit to authority
  • Ungrateful for the kindness, grace, and/or mercy shown to us
  • Blind to our own faults and/or to the needs of others
  • An entitlement attitude which insists we deserve better, deserve more, etc.
  • Comparing ourselves to other people and looking for opportunities to claim greater importance
  • Wanting our agenda to prevail over others’ (…or even God’s)
  • Inconveniencing others for the sake of our own convenience
  • Life is about us and our glory, not God and His glory

Do these things describe people you know? Most assuredly they do.

Do they describe you? I know…you don’t want to answer that.

Hezekiah was a good and godly king, but for a season got caught up in a vine of pride. The cruddy thing is that we’re all guilty just like him. We all have a pride issue. And if we have a pride issue, we have a sin issue. And if we have a sin issue, we need a Savior.

Though God detests the proud of heart (Proverbs 16:5), He loves us too much too leave us there.

Hezekiah humbled himself and repented of his arrogance (2 Chronicles 32:26). God was merciful and forgave him. The same God who loved and forgave Hezekiah offers us forgiveness as well. And though we may not be kings, by God’s grace, we can continue our journey onward to being good and godly in the every day.

 

 

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