If I had read the title of this blog post one year ago, I would have laughed because I would have found a solution to this problem impossible. I'm a Puerto Rican woman and you want me to... apologize? And you want me to do it first? Without rolling my eyes? Yeah, ok...
As I walk more and more with the Lord, I become increasingly sensitive of the sin in my life. Pride has been one of my biggest. Pride doesn't mean that I think I'm better than everybody else, it actually means the opposite. It means that I'm overcompensating for what I feel like I'm lacking.
For example, if I realize that I'm majorly wrong in an argument, I don't back down and agree, I continually defend my point just to win, so I could feel better about myself. I hate when people do that to me, yet I struggle with it greatly. I don't tend to struggle with this during discussions with acquaintances or people at work, but it's with the people I love most. Each time I let my pride form inside of me, I push the closest people in my life away, just for the sake of coming on top of a disagreement. It's never been worth it one time.
Pride says to God, “I’m better and more important than you.” Why? Because pride needs to have its own way rather than the Lord's way. God alone is worthy to receive praise and glory, but pride tries to steal it all away from Him.
Right before I got married, I had to ask myself a really tough question. Maybe you have to ask yourself this question too. The verse 1 Peter 5:5 says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Do we want God's opposition or His grace? If you're like me... you probably say "grace" every time... and that means we have to lay aside pride in order to get it.
Pride is so enticing and filled with an abundance of promises, yet it never delivers or gives me what I hope for. What I always hope comes out of it is a feeling of more confidence- yet it's the opposite every time. Never once did I feel relief by retaliating and hurting others. But that disappointment seemed better to me than being vulnerable and bare in front of someone that I cared deeply about. I couldn't let them see me weak and in the wrong. That's always been such a deep fear of mine.
Because I'm around my husband the most often than anybody else, he sees this ugliness in me more often than I'd like. He tells me something profound in those moments that I'm struggling to be humble. He says "Apologizing doesn’t always mean that you’re wrong and I'm right. It just means that you value our relationship more than your ego.” Yet, he still winds up saying sorry first most days and encourages me to try again next time. He always ends the fight by telling me that he believes in me.
Maybe you've realized this in your own heart too. You feel so bad, that you have to cover up feeling so bad by pretending not to feel bad at all, because you're scared to look delicate and you're scared to feel that much of any emotion. If that made any sense to your brain, then you should probably keep reading. I am no master at this, but I've been putting these steps into practice and it's changed a lot already.
Be Aware Of Your Sin
Jesus said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:31-32
I need Christ, badly. If He doesn't keep me on a short leash, then I am miserable without Him. I have to daily admit my need for His guidance. I rest in the fact that He came for the sick that needs healing, cause that is me. I have to be careful with being "aware" of my sin sometimes, because if I'm not, I can fall into another form of pride- self-loathing. Often I feel like such a failure with this whole pride thing that I am in a constant "woe-is-me" state of mind. Whenever I mess up, I cannot go and wallow in a penalty box, I need to get right with the Lord so that my sin can become a testimony and I can wind up glorifying Him.
I attend a small group on Thursday nights and one of the men that leads it is a real prayer warrior. He has encouraged me to get alone with the Lord each and every morning and just ask Him to search my heart and ask Him to take out anything that's not of Him, just like David did in the Psalms. I've began doing that, and although the darkness in my heart can seem overwhelming at times, there is so much hope in that cross. I am aware of my deep need for Him, but I'm also aware of the beautiful victory before me.
Stop Justifying Yourself
"You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts." Luke 16:15
At the end of my pride fest, I usually go on a rant over why I probably ended up this way. This habit of over-explaining myself can be a major problem. I’m not talking about meaningful back and forth dialogue where I'm sharing with an open mind. No, I’m talking about those moments when I feel a bit pushed into a corner and uncomfortable, so I start spewing a load of unprovoked justification. I blame my upbringing, my culture, my family- I never acknowledge the fact that it's probably just sin that I need to kill.
It’s human nature to want to be accepted, and it’s natural to want people to understand where we’re coming from. In the process of wanting to feel understood, it’s easy to avoid just owning where you messed up, so instead we offer up any reason we can to make us look more put together than we actually are.
To fight this urge, usually I just bite my tongue and simply say "I was wrong." This part really stings. I want to keep talking to make myself look the best, even when admitting my mistake, yet that would not be crucifying the pride in my heart. That would be making it comfortable enough to stay.
Become A Servant
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:10
If I want to strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman and wife, then I need to continually be in a servant-like posture. I needed to learn that a true servant is not preoccupied with the visibility of themself but instead seeks to give all of the glory and fame back to God. I had to come to the realization that maybe I wasn't truly living for Christ since I wasn't desperately trying to give Him thanks in any and every circumstance.
If I was doing life right, then in the middle of a discussion getting heated, I would step back and ask to pray and to bring God in the midst of our conversation - and then I would listen to the other party to truly understand. If Jesus, the son of God, could be humble, then I can be humble too. In the greatest act of humility ever, with the exception of the cross, Jesus kneeled down and washed the disciple’s dirty feet. When people ask me what Bible story blows my mind, I usually point back to that one. What a powerful lesson on servanthood.
Humility and lowliness should continually be the state of heart we aim for. For God "dwells on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit." (Isaiah 57:15) In a culture that is all about selfies, let us join together and actually take this battle seriously.
Pride is the root of every sin. It has the audacity to disobey the loving, wise God who has purchased you. Pride wreaks havoc on your spiritual life.
We must declare war on pride lest we fall into sin and put enmity in between us and God.
Pride never makes us feel better. It leaves us feeling empty, trapped, and unhappy. There have been plenty of times when I myself needed a wakeup call from God. I needed him to grab me by the ear and remind me that there are two sides to every situation. We are left with two choices in the midst of it all. We can refuse to apologize, and remain miserable; or we can exude grace, forgiveness, and vulnerability.
Remind yourself of what love looks like, continually. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 tells us about loving with—forgiveness, kindness, not insisting on our own way, and always lifting the other up.