Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Hurt pride

"Haman left the palace that day happy, beaming. And then he saw Mordecai sitting at the King’s Gate ignoring him, oblivious to him. Haman was furious with Mordecai. But he held himself in and went on home. He got his friends together with his wife Zeresh and started bragging about how much money he had, his many sons, all the times the king had honored him, and his promotion to the highest position in the government." Esther 5:9 - 11, The Message

The NIV says: "But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai."

This was personal. This isn't about Mordecai not following the customs of the country, but a personal vendetta. Haman's arrogance and pride had led to his demanding of attention from all others, save the king, and he took Mordecai's refusal as a personal slight.

I do that, too.  I can demand attention from others, a wish for recognition, for grooming of my ego, flattering my personality, praising my good qualities. Then, when these demands and expectations are not met, I become frustrated and angry.

It doesn't even matter if, like Haman who had been honoured by the king and queen, I have had recognition from elsewhere: it's not enough if I am slighted in one quarter. I focus on what I DON'T get. 

I am even tempted, like Haman did, to boast of my accomplishments, my great friends and connections, my cleverness at my job, my family heritage... I rarely do it, but even the thought of doing so is enough for me to lose my sense of grace, of knowing who I am in Jesus and that nothing else - NOTHING else - matters.

Paul says: "The Scriptures say, “If you want to brag, then brag about the Lord.” You may brag about yourself, but the only approval that counts is the Lord’s approval."

Hurt pride. At the root of so many broken relationships and spoilt opportunities. I'm not talking about anyone else: just me.

Proverbs 16:5 says: "God can’t stomach arrogance or pretense; believe me, he’ll put those upstarts in their place."

Tim Keller:Naaman is after a tame God, but this is a wild God. Naaman is after a God who can be put into debt, but this is a God of grace, who puts everyone else in his debt. . . .

‘Just wash yourself,’ then, was a command that was hard because it was so easy. To do it, Naaman had to admit he was helpless and weak and had to receive his salvation as a free gift.

If you want God’s grace, all you need is need, all you need is nothing.

But that kind of spiritual humility is hard to muster. We come to God saying, ‘Look at all I’ve done,’ or maybe ‘Look at all I’ve suffered.’

God, however, wants us to look to him—to just wash.

Prayer: Lord, I don't want to be like Haman. Save me from my sin! Your grace has done that already: let me live in grace and not under sinful attitudes.

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