Got me wondering what we might see if we did a video evaluation of our last family, church, or work conflict…
Am guessing one thing that would be missing would be visible evidence of a too often forgotten means of grace. Even though there is a lot of mystery in the way God works, he has been very clear to say that he “resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
In many ways humility might be one of the most misunderstood principles of the Bible. Yet, from a New Testament point of view, it is just another way of talking about realism (Romans 12:3,16).
Early on, many of us knew that the undeserved help of God, depends on something more basic than our baptism, prayers, Scripture, and church gatherings. But old instincts remain with us. In our natural default setting, we easily revert to focusing on: (1) the wrongs of others, and (2) and the rights we feel entitled to. In the process we can forget one of the most basic fundamentals of our faith.
Unfortunately, this easily forgotten means of grace has picked up a lot of baggage along the way– so much so, in fact, that many of us can’t even mention it without thinking of it as pride in drag.
So let’s play back the memory and see if we can see to what extent the “h factor” was either there or not in that last conflict. Let’s see if we can catch ourselves doing any of the things that are a possible indicators of what’s missing. Things like,
1. Talking before listening.
2. Trying more to be understood than to understand.
3. Listening more to our side than the other.
4. Resenting the insult or the inconvenience.
5. Expecting God to be one of our allies while ignoring his counsel.
If the Apostle Peter could come back to coach us through the problem, am guessing he might say something like. “Yeh, these kinds of problems aren’t easy. No one likes to be treated that way. And I know times have changed. But do you by any chance remember what I said in one of our first times together? Do you remember me saying that it is critical that ‘All of you subject yourselves to one another, and be clothed with humility for,
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Then Peter goes on to write,
Do you remember that I went on to strongly suggest that you, ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he might exalt you, in due time. Casting all of your cares on him because he cares for you’… So that… ‘The God of all grace, who has called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, [and] settle you…To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.'”(1Peter 5:5-7, 10,11; James 4:6).
In light of some of our earlier conversations about men and women, it seems important to see that the Apostle Peter reminds us that this “means of grace” is for all of us when he writes, “All of you subject yourselves to one another, and be clothed with humility (same original Greek word– hupotasso). He writes this after first encouraging the “elders” of the church not to lord it over God’s people but to be “examples” of what it means to suffer, if necessary, to reflect (by God’s grace) the ways of Christ (1Peter 5:1-4).
Wonder how often sports coaches catch something similar … in post-game films of lost games…
PS Although I like sports, I don’t know enough to “talk” them. But if you do, I think you’ll enjoy what our Sport Chaplain Bill Crowder sees in the sports news on our sport blog designed “to see the real issues in sports and life.”