Self-directed anger. Fear of failure, rejection and loss. Dissatisfaction. Envy. Like an orchestra of untuned instruments, the noisy emotions of wounded pride refuse to be comforted. In the dark halls and back rooms of our hearts, angry feelings slam doors, break windows, raise voices, and start arguments.
Feelings of not being able to measure up hound us in school, can trip us up on the job, and threaten our sense of safety and security at home. Like demon dogs of discontent, damaged emotions even follow us to church.
Those who’ve been repeatedly rejected and disrespected may have an especially hard time believing the truth about themselves. Children of troubled, self-destructive parents need extra amounts of understanding, encouragement, patience, compassion and mercy. All too often, they bear the scarred emotions of unpredictable neglect, rage, and abuse.
But will we find ourselves only when we listen to those counselors who tell us we need to learn to accept and affirm ourselves as we are.
If we really hate ourselves as much as we think we do, why are we so unnerved by our failures and mistreatment?
With immeasurable understanding and compassion, the Bible repeatedly shows us that–by indulging ourselves in destructive ways, or by berating ourselves unmercifully–our self-contempt is a way of showing that we naturally care about ourselves (Eph 5:29).
Even the most troubled among us alternate between pampering ourselves and beating ourselves up in unhealthy ways– because of a deeper instinct to esteem too highly our own opinions, thoughts, feelings, and rights.
Wounded pride, like the other members of its family, is a deceiver. It looks like self-contempt, feels like death, and acts like something that needs to be encouraged and indulged. But while everyone needs to be loved, no one needs the kind of flattery that cheers a bleeding, grace-rejecting ego. Wounded pride is not to be taken lightly. Even though stunned by circumstance, it remains a rebel (Isaiah 1:1-20), nursing its own wounds, planning its revenge, and raging against the heavens.
Father, forgive us for treating our wounded pride as brokenness and humility. Help us to see that we will never find real comfort, confidence, security, and satisfaction until we rest in Your assurance that “On this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isa. 66:2). Strengthen us to trust You when You remind us that our own feelings and thoughts must rest in You.