Friday, April 30, 2010

A Mess and a Savior

It's one thing to read articles on humility and receiving criticism and think, "Wow, that's such godly, helpful advice. Mmm, good stuff." It's quite another thing to apply that godly wisdom when it's *your* reputation on the line--when the criticism is no longer abstract, but personal.

A couple of times recently, I've been faced with a difficult decision: Do I keep up appearances so this person will think highly of me, or do I share with complete honesty the ugly parts of myself? Do I defend myself against this person, or do I quietly accept what's true in their critique and graciously, humbly ignore the rest?

In thinking about these blows to my pride, I've found it really helpful to return to Milton Vincent's words from A Gospel Primer for Christians:

The Cross also exposes me before the eyes of other people, informing them of the depth of my depravity. If I wanted others to think highly of me, I would conceal the fact that a shameful slaughter of the perfect Son of God was required that I might be saved. But when I stand at the foot of the Cross and am seen by others under the light of that Cross, I am left uncomfortably exposed before their eyes. Indeed, the most humiliating gossip that could ever be whispered about me is blared from Golgotha's hill; and my self-righteous reputation is left in ruins in the wake of its revelations. With the worst facts about me thus exposed to the view of others, I find myself feeling that I truly have nothing left to hide.

The truth is: I am a mess. By God's grace, He is revealing this truth to me more and more. And (in the words of my wise mentor) if He needs to reveal that truth to others, may He do so in order that they may also see what a Savior I have and what a Mess-Cleaner-Upper He is!

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