While reading through a blog I frequent called The Unitive, I came upon the newest post on a topic I had quite a bit of knowledge on (if you'd like to read that post, I encourage you to head over to theunitive.com, the guy that runs it is solid). The post was titled "Tension and Relationships," something that I was all too familiar with.
Just to premise, I'm going to get pretty personal in this post because this is something that God has really been convicting me of for the past few weeks. All I really ask for is prayer for continued growth in maturity and understanding on my part. I also pray that through all of this, reconciliation can take place, but whatever God's will may be, I adhere to it.
Over the past several years I have accumulated a few long-term relationships that ended bitterly. Regretful words were spoken, feelings were hurt, communication became strained. But to me it was just business as usual. In every relationship I had been a part of, I felt I had received the short end of the stick. I was the one that was dumped, I was the one left thinking, "What could I have done different?", and I was the one forced to move on not by choice, but by obligation. I was left a cold, bitter, grudge-bearing shell of the guy I once was. I felt like I had been wronged. That I did not deserve what was given to me. That she was the wicked one. Looking back, I don't think I could have been more wrong.
In every relationship that has ended bitterly, there was one aspect of my character that was visible.
Pride told me that because I was so "genuine" and because I was so "respectful" to the girls I dated, nothing I did warranted the end of the relationship. Pride told me that because I "cared" for her so much and because I wanted to "protect" her from everything that she didn't deserve to have me, that she didn't deserve my friendship. Pride told me that I was a "good guy", that I was justified in my decision to not talk to them anymore after we broke up.
God has shown me that all of those "admirable traits" were nothing but deceitful tricks, jealousy, and immaturity.
"Pride comes before the fall" is a popular quote made daily by those that don't understand it's true intent. That line is paraphrased from a source I trust whole-heartedly. In fact, my God wrote it.
Proverbs 16:18 says, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Pretty similar with a few words taken away, but those that misquote this phrase usually don't understand the severity with which this is written.
They don't understand the damage that pride really does incite. It is not just a blow to your ego.
It is so much more than that.
Pride destroys everything in its path. It destroys relationships, careers, families, identity, and most of all, any possibility of fully trusting Christ with your whole life.
There's no way anyone can do it. One can not spend their week glorifying the self, basking in the light of their own strength, notoriety, or good values while lifting their hands Sunday morning. Not only is it not possible to do that, it is by no means biblical. Christ spells it out pretty well in Matthew 23 concerning the Pharisees. Now the Pharisees were the most "righteous" of them all. They took great pride in following the Law of Moses, down to the very last yod (Hebrew letter). In fact, they thought they did such a great job at following Mosaic Law, the Pharisees decided to institute even more laws, penalizing anyone with religious indignation for breaking them. Jesus tells His disciples and the crowds gathered in Matthew 23:12 when speaking of the Pharisees, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
Through every tough break up, I was exalting myself to a point of such high esteem that I think Jesus would have grouped me with the same camp as the people He called a "brood of vipers" and a "whitewashed tomb."
What makes me any different from the Pharisees? Was I loving? Was I understanding? Was I forgiving? No, I was not.
God has been using many people to speak to me on what I should pray for, how I should handle this bitterness, and what I should do concerning my broken relationships, but in the end, it's completely between me and God. I have felt Him leading me in different directions but I know one thing for sure, it is time to put to death this bitterness and nail it to the cross.
So if I have ever wronged you in any way, shape, or form, I am truly sorry. I pray that you can find it within yourself to forgive me of my arrogance, hurtful words, and most of all, my pride. You were worthy of Christ's sacrifice, and that being said, I hope you find me worthy of a second chance at reconciliation.