The King James version of the 23rd Psalm says that he leadeth me beside the still waters. That came to mind yesterday as I drove to Stillwater. The Oklahoma version…not the Biblical one. The long drive gave me lots of reflection time on what has been a very rough stretch of personal highway. Joni and I have been walking through the valley of the shadow of death during the first three weeks of this year. Yet we have been able to say, like the Psalmist, that we fear no evil for He is with us. Still, when you go to three funerals in three weeks you tend to think about larger life issues than the eighteen-wheeler blocking the passing lane.
Yesterday’s home church sermon dealt with the cost of following Christ. While that was still percolating in the gray matter I listened to Andy Stanley on a podcast. Andy talked about forgiveness from his series Life Rules. That forgiveness word keeps coming up over and over and over. Perhaps there is a message in there for me somewhere. Stanley noted that people who can’t forgive either don’t remember how much they have been forgiven or they never understood what Christ has done for them. In spite of the fact that Andy was beginning to annoy me I continued to listen. Then he said something that really hit me. “When we forgive we might sacrifice a little pride. When God forgave He sacrificed His Son.”
I decided to give myself a break from “deep thoughts” with a little iPod music time. Regular readers of these ramblings know how eclectic the selection is on my MP3 device. Country singer Keith Urban brought me right back to the pride thing with his song “Tonight I Wanna Cry”.
Cause I’ve never been the kind to ever let my feelings show
And I thought that bein’ strong meant never losin’ your self-control
But I’m just drunk enough to let go of my pain
To hell with my pride
Let it fall like rain, from my eyes
Tonight I wanna cry.
While I am not advocating the getting “just drunk enough” to let go I am suggesting that I need to say to “hell with my pride“. And I do want to let go of my pain and give it to God. The Apostle Peter writes these words to the young men and those seeking to be elders but they certainly apply to all of us.
And all of you, serve each other in humility, for
“God opposes the proud
but favors the humble.”
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. I Pet 5 NLT
As I write this this morning I am not “just drunk” enough to let go of my pain. But I am “just tired” enough of it to give the pain to Him. He cares about me. Incredible. So as I leave the Stillwater (OK) I will be pondering pride and forgiveness. Two questions keep going through my mind.
Am I more concerned about being right than being righteous?
Would I rather save face than see His face?