There are times in life when our flaws show up slowly over an extended period of time, and certain situations arise that highlight these previously undetected areas for personal improvement. And then there are times when it’s not so subtle, those “just-got-hit-by-a-dump-truck moments,” as I like to call them.
Rewind to the scene where my wife and I were riding in the car the other day, having some quality Q&A time between the two of us. Innocently enough, the question was asked, “What are your areas of weakness?” Instead of answering for myself, I thought I’d see what my dear wife might say about me. Without even a hint of hesitation, she said,
“Uh, arrogance. Yeah, definitely arrogance.”
It came as no real shock, actually. It’s true, and we both know it. But, seeking perhaps some specific examples if for nothing else than a good little laugh at myself, I asked, “Why do you say that?” This was, in my opinion, the best part.
“Honey, you have five copies of Humility [a book by C.J. Mahaney] on your bookshelf that five different people gave to you. I think that says it all.”
And we did have a good laugh, one of those that kind of hurts because it’s true. But a few thoughts on the matter: First, you have to be able to laugh at yourself in life, especially when you act the fool. There is a time and place to mock sin. Second, God shows his favor through the wife (or friend) who will—sometimes playfully, sometimes gently—tell it to you like it is. Third, our weaknesses and dominant sins are best kept in the forefront where we are aware of and can deal with them. The worst sins are the ones we don’t think we have.
Last, all of this makes me reflect on what my kids see of me. It’s hard to admit to them that Daddy is arrogant. But I think it would be worse to be arrogant and pretend like I’m not (guilty here, too) than to admit it and seek by grace to be changed. That arrogance is also a chance to demonstrate confession, repentance, and reliance on the atoning work of Jesus—something they need to lay witness to. If nothing else they get to see God’s grace transforming arrogant Daddy into more of a servant, more of a sacrificer, more of a man than when they first met him.
I guess it’s time to pull one of my five copies of Humility back off the shelf and put it to use.