Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pride, Performance, and ... Pennies...

I was cleaning out my wallet the other day and found some change had been placed in there. I don’t normally find change in my wallet so I was kinda surprised to find that in there. Then I remember that I had given my wallet to my wife earlier to go buy some food for the kids, and realized that she must have put it there after she paid the bill for our food. 
Ok- so big deal. I found change in my wallet- wow... 
Yes, not news breaking material here, but what struck me was the value of the change - 2 cents. 
As I’ve been reflecting over some conversations I have had the last several weeks, I’ve become uncomfortably aware that I’m often giving my opinion - my “2 cents” - to others on a lot of different things. Some of it may have been helpful, some maybe not so much. Either way, it wasn’t requested, I just gave it. 
Sorry for the confessional, but I know that I’m not the only one out there that has the same trouble of being overly generous with my 2 cents. I have a growing collection of suggestions and perspectives from some of my friends as well! :-) 
At first, people are pleasant about it. They smile and nod, and the conversation carries on. But the more our occasion and frequency in sharing our ideas, our polite company begins to show subtle signs of growing tired of all of our ideas. 
The issue isn’t the content of our ideas, suggestions, or perspectives. It’s the attitude and heart behind those opinions that reveal that something rotten has taken root in our hearts. 
Sometimes it’s just pride. We think we know what’s best! We have the best ideas, the best strategies, the best resources. In fact, our thoughts are so great, that we are completely unable to hear the ideas of others. We just plow ahead, not considering ideas together and objectively evaluating them. We are so impressed with ourselves and are totally convinced that this is the way, but totally blind to the fact that God has given wisdom to others as well, who have a lot more humility about them than us. I’m prone to struggle with this one... 
Other times it’s a performance issue. We are trying to impress someone else with US because WE are so GREAT and we want to make SURE that they know we’ve got it figured out! We figure if we impress them with our ideas, they will like us and give us the promotion or respect or whatever the outcome is that we are looking to achieve in our agenda. We care more about what other people think than anything else. Just another form of idolatry, repackaged for our world today. I struggle with this one too... 
The reality is we all do this at varying levels because it is a sin issue; it’s an idolatry issue. It’s a worship issue. 
Whether it is pride or performance, it still reveals that we are jealous for the approval and affections of others for ourselves and not for the approval and affection that we find in Jesus alone. We are never going to be good enough, smart enough, have good enough ideas, etc. to win the favor of God. Ultimately God's opinion of us is what matters most, and the only way we receive His favor is through accepting by faith the finished work that Jesus already did for us (see John 3:16). Once God opens the eyes of our heart to see this and the faith to rest in this, we realize that we can stop trying to earn an approval/favor from God that is utterly impossible to obtain. It is simply being granted to us through faith alone in Jesus alone. 
It's not to say that there isn't a time and place to share our ideas and perspective. It's more a matter of the heart. It's a realization that we don't have it all figured out, and we need to learn a little self control and practice some humility as we ask a couple questions:
  1. Is it truly helpful information?
  2. Is it really necessary to share?
Maybe you have other filter questions that work for you - I'm sure there are others that are more helpful. Whatever the filter, find some means of keeping your opinions and ideas soaked in humility and love. So what am I going to do with those two pennies I found in my wallet? I think I’ll keep them in my wallet as a reminder that I should be a little more prudent in my opinion philanthropy. If God prompts me to share my ideas, I want to make sure that when it is offered, it is done without the pursuit of pride and performance, but instead with humility and love.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are wise beyond your years brother! As for me, keep swinging away with the advice. It is always warranted and appreciated!

Wade *|||||||*