I met someone a while ago who I instantly disliked. I felt this bitter pain of loathing come over me nearly as soon as I started talking to her.
And I thought I could shake it. But even an ounce of hatred and bitterness will begin to destroy. So I finally, painfully, dug deep.
And it wasn’t her.
I had known deep down that it wasn’t her all along, but it’s easier to believe that it is the other person. It’s harder to look at yourself and see your own filth.
The loathing and the dislike were stemming from my own flaws.
I didn’t dislike her…I disliked me. Because when I talked to her I saw mirrored back at me several of my own struggle areas.
…my tendency to talk too much when I’m nervous.
…how I so easily come across as a ‘know-it-all’.
…my tendency to turn a discussion into a debate.
…the habit of pushing into a conversation and needing to be heard.
These things are so painfully hard for me to admit about myself. They stem from pride and selfishness and the desire to lead in areas God has not called me to lead. They stem from fear and insecurity, because when I’m insecure I talk and talk and talk.
And talking and talking usually isn’t the best way to show love.
And talking and talking usually doesn’t stem from humility.
And talking and talking usually is self-centered, not self-less.
And when I took the time to dig deep inside myself, I realized that my dislike had nothing to do with her “flaws”. Had they been any other issues that I saw in her, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. But her flaws are my flaws, and seeing my flaws in someone else reveals them in me all the more.
So I prayed for forgiveness and help and love and felt all sorts of tender and wounded and little bit discouraged in all the areas I need to grow in.
And I opened God’s Word this week, in the cold morning, to the book of 1st Peter. I started into chapter five, where the apostle Peter is exhorting elders and humbly reminding them that, as an elder himself, he is qualified to give them this challenge and exhortation.
“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed…”
1 Peter 5:1
And God whispered to me right there in that verse.
He reminded me how Peter had a big mouth and talked when he was nervous and talked too much and often said the wrong thing and tried to be a know-it-all and struggled with pride. Then God pointed me to the Peter writing these verses.
That same Peter who had so many issues, God also used as the leader of the early church and as the first apostle to preach to the Gentiles and as a writer of part of the New Testament and as a humble elder and pastor to the church in Jerusalem.
Then God whispered to me, “If I can do that with Peter, can’t I do that with you?”
And the tenderness and the woundedness and the discouragement flooded away in the awe of God’s power. That He could take me, with all of my flaws, and change me to be like Him and use me for His glory is astounding.
In that simple moment of reminder, my posture changed from humbled brokenness to humbled worship.
Let Him show you your struggles and then let Him show you how big He is. Let Him whisper to you, “If I can do that with Peter, I can do that with you.”
Because He is bigger than my sin, and I can guarantee He is bigger than yours too.