RSS

Category Archives: “No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock

“No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock — No strength like utter weakness, no insult like the truth

“No Insult Like The Truth” By Charlie Peacock

I’ve run my ship aground
on the rocks of the soul
There’s no lie like independence
there’s no demon like control
I’ve fanned the burning embers
til my house was on fire
There’s no parody like power
There’s no fever like desire
I’ve drained the wine of darkness
to the dregs of deceit
There’s no drug as strong as pride
There’s no blindness like conceit
I’ve railed against the mountain
With a pickaxe and a file
There’s no minefield like presumption
There’s no death wish like denial

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

I’ve adjusted my prescription
til I couldn’t trust my vision
there’s no killer like convenience
there’s no sickness like omission
I’ve amended resolutions and resisted explanation
There’s no trap door like emotion
There’s no pit like reputation

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion
There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

This is part of a series dissecting the song “No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock. In the series, I am taking two of the statements he makes and exploring the depth of meaning behind them and what I can learn about myself in the process

Dear God, so this is the culmination of this little series. I intentionally saved these two for last since they are the punch line of the chorus.

There’s no strength like utter weakness

When I think about the people I admire the least I would have to say that it is those who have the most bravado. If I’m around someone who needs to show me how strong they are, it is a complete turnoff, and they really don’t have anything to offer me.

One of the worst sermons I’ve ever heard was on Father’s Day several years ago. I was in a particularly bad spot as a father at that time, and I decided to visit a church I don’t normally attend but had been growing quite a bit. The pastor decided to approach Father’s Day by talking about all of the things he did well as a father and how great his kids turned out. I was devastated. I felt condemned and like a failure. It was terrible. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one because a member there told me he apologized the following week.

Portraying weakness is a strength, but what about genuinely recognizing the reality of my own weakness and living out of that. It’s a biblical cliche to say when I’m weak you are strong, but it’s true. Why does power corrupt? Because the person with power starts to make an idol out of themselves and the power they have instead of submitting themselves completely to you.

One last thing on this. The most powerful testimonies I have ever heard have been from those who talk about either a failure/weakness from their past, or a current failure/weakness. Vulnerability is where we all meet. There is no condemnation in vulnerability. If only I could truly learn that lesson.

There’s no insult like the truth

Hearing truth from someone else is important. Not that we need to seek out “insults,” but we have to put ourselves in situations where we are known by others so that they can speak truth to us about ourselves. This goes back into the vulnerability thing. If I build a wall around myself and create a facade of strength, then no one will know me and be able to speak truth to me. You will lose your ability to use others in my life to “sharpen” me.

Father, help me to embrace my own weakness and the truths about how I still fail you. Help me to leave myself vulnerable to those around me so that you can use my life as a comfort or inspiration for them. Love through me and help me to feel your love and acceptance.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

Tags: , , ,

“No Insult Like The Truth” by Charlie Peacock — No gunshot like conviction, no conscience bulletproof

“No Insult Like The Truth” By Charlie Peacock

I’ve run my ship aground
on the rocks of the soul
There’s no lie like independence
there’s no demon like control
I’ve fanned the burning embers
til my house was on fire
There’s no parody like power
There’s no fever like desire
I’ve drained the wine of darkness
to the dregs of deceit
There’s no drug as strong as pride
There’s no blindness like conceit
I’ve railed against the mountain
With a pickaxe and a file
There’s no minefield like presumption
There’s no death wish like denial

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

I’ve adjusted my prescription
til I couldn’t trust my vision
there’s no killer like convenience
there’s no sickness like omission
I’ve amended resolutions and resisted explanation
There’s no trap door like emotion
There’s no pit like reputation

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion
There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof

There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

This is part of a series dissecting the song “No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock. In the series, I am taking two of the statements he makes and exploring the depth of meaning behind them and what I can learn about myself in the process

Dear God, I think I’m going to combine these two since they seem to go together. Conviction and the conscience. They obviously go together.

I guess the first thing I would point out is that there is a difference between feeling guilty and feeling convicted. At the most basic level, just because I don’t feel guilty about something doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit isn’t trying to convict me of it. For example, I might feel just fine about rejecting an enemy or someone who has been mean to me, but the Holy Spirit might still convict me that there is something I need to do on my end.

And conviction can come in different forms. It can relate to a behavior or attitude that needs changed. It can also be that nudging I need to be part of a solution for a problem I see around me. The trick is to make sure I am continuously preparing my heart to be reached by the Holy Spirit. To go back to some stuff I have written earlier about the parable of the sower, am I doing my part to ensure that there is good soil for you to work with.

Father, convict me today of the things I need to see and to which I need to respond. Love through me. Work through me. And then search me and give me the humility to repent of the sins that are permeating my life. Help me to turn loose of the world and be the man you need me to be. The man I want to be. And do it all for your glory. Help me to decrease and have you increase through me.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

Tags: , , ,

“No Insult Like The Truth” by Charlie Peacock — No cancer like ambition, no cure like crucifixion

“No Insult Like The Truth” By Charlie Peacock

I’ve run my ship aground
on the rocks of the soul
There’s no lie like independence
there’s no demon like control
I’ve fanned the burning embers
til my house was on fire
There’s no parody like power
There’s no fever like desire
I’ve drained the wine of darkness
to the dregs of deceit
There’s no drug as strong as pride
There’s no blindness like conceit
I’ve railed against the mountain
With a pickaxe and a file
There’s no minefield like presumption
There’s no death wish like denial

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

I’ve adjusted my prescription
til I couldn’t trust my vision
there’s no killer like convenience
there’s no sickness like omission
I’ve amended resolutions and resisted explanation
There’s no trap door like emotion
There’s no pit like reputation

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion

There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

This is part of a series dissecting the song “No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock. In the series, I am taking two of the statements he makes and exploring the depth of meaning behind them and what I can learn about myself in the process

Dear God, so I’m up to the bridge of the song. I notice he says it twice. “There’s no cancer like ambition. There’s no cure like crucifixion. There’s no cancer like ambition. There’s no cure like crucifixion.”

There’s no cancer like ambition

So what does cancer do? It grows until it takes what is alive and kills it, replacing it with itself. It’s absolute killer if not treated and removed. If not cured. Is Charlie right to hold ambition out as an exceptional vice above the others? Is ambition worse than independence, control, power, desire, pride, conceit, presumption, denial, convenience, omission, emotion, or reputation?

The thing that ambition can do that is dangerous is it will ultimately lead me to replace you with me. Even if I am ambitious for your and your kingdom, the danger is that I will start doing it for myself and my glory instead of your glory. My own wisdom will start to take hold. And I suppose I could say that my ambition will lead to all of the things that have come before it in the song. Ambition leads to independence, control, power, desire, pride, conceit, presumption, denial, convenience, omission, emotion, or reputation. Yes, I don’t know that I can say this definitively, but an argument can certainly be made that ambition is like a cancer in my soul.

There’s no cure like crucifixion

The know that my sin creates cannot be untied. Sometimes the damage done in relationships by hurting others cannot be undone through talking and reason. It requires sacrifice and humility. In terms of my relationship with you and the healing of my soul, the only thing there is to do is ask your forgiveness and that the sacrifice that Jesus made be applied to me as well. I must die to myself. I must put myself up there on the cross with Jesus, crucified, buried with him in baptism, and walk in newness of life. There’s no cure like Jesus’s crucifixion, but my own death to self is part of that as well.

Father, help me to sink into you. This is my first day back at work after a nice vacation. Help me to walk in your light and your power. Help me to walk humbly with you. Help me to hear your voice in the noice and in the still, quiet moments. Help me to carry you with me to others. Help me to bring glory to your name.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

Tags: , , ,

“No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock — No trapdoor like emotion, no pit like reputation

“No Insult Like The Truth” By Charlie Peacock

I’ve run my ship aground
on the rocks of the soul
There’s no lie like independence
there’s no demon like control
I’ve fanned the burning embers
til my house was on fire
There’s no parody like power
There’s no fever like desire
I’ve drained the wine of darkness
to the dregs of deceit
There’s no drug as strong as pride
There’s no blindness like conceit
I’ve railed against the mountain
With a pickaxe and a file
There’s no minefield like presumption
There’s no death wish like denial

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

I’ve adjusted my prescription
til I couldn’t trust my vision
there’s no killer like convenience
there’s no sickness like omission
I’ve amended resolutions and resisted explanation
There’s no trap door like emotion
There’s no pit like reputation

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion
There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

This is part of a series dissecting the song “No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock. In the series, I am taking two of the statements he makes and exploring the depth of meaning behind them and what I can learn about myself in the process.

Dear God, as I continue on with this series of journals to you, it can be hard to feel like I’m not repeating myself a bit because, when it all comes down to it, a lot of this comes down to dying to ourselves and letting go. Letting go of secrets. Letting go of independence, control, power, desire, pride, conceit, presumption, denial, convenience, omission, emotion and reputation. Just letting go and getting to the bridge of this song, which I’ll do tomorrow (no cure like crucifixion).

There’s no trapdoor like emotion

Emotion can be good and important. It can be an indicator that something is wrong or that something is right. But it is fleeting and it can’t be depended upon for the longterm. Emotion can get you into a relationship too quickly, and out of one too fast. It can make you paralyzed with fear or depressed with despair.

When I was a freshman at Baylor, they did “Welcome Week” for incoming students, and the t-shirts they gave us had the “Welcome Week Wheel.” The wheel had four areas of our lives that they said should be equal in their weight if we are to have balanced lives: Mental, Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual. The wheel also had a hub in the middle of it where Jesus was. I’ve always liked that representation. Emotion is important, but it can be a trapdoor that can’t be trusted.

Applying this to church, I heard a Christian artist talk about someone telling him after a worship service, “Wow, the Holy Spirit really moved in there.” His reply was, “How could you tell? There was so much going on, how could you tell what the Holy Spirit was doing or saying?” He then made the point that we sometimes mistake an emotional experience for the Holy Spirit. Then we start to depend upon that emotion to sustain us in our faith and walk with you. That can be a trapdoor. The same is true for romantic relationships and friendships. And anger can drive us the other way. Anger can push us away from people who might actually need us.

There’s no pit like reputation

When I think of a pit I think of a place where I’m stuck and the pit is keeping me from getting out. In this case, reputation is the pit that holds me in. Perhaps my reputation keeps me from admitting fault. Maybe it keeps me from stepping out and taking a chance. Maybe it causes me to create a facade that keeps others away and mistreats those that are closest to me. Maybe, and this is the most dangerous, it causes me to create an image that brings glory to me and not to you.

Father, help me to, first, keep you in the center of my life. I have had a morning that has been a bit self-indulgent. I’ve been lazy and lethargic. And maybe there’s a place for that sometimes, but I know that at the end of those times I always feel the need for you. I feel like I need your presence to bring me peace. I pray that you will help me to submit my emotions, physicality, mentality, and spirituality to you. Help me to die to myself. Help me to love others richly. And there is someone in particular on my heart right now. I pray for her and her parents. I pray for her siblings. Please help her and all of them.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

Tags: , , ,

“No Insult Like The Truth” by Charlie Peacock — No killer like convenience, no sickness like omission

“No Insult Like The Truth” By Charlie Peacock

I’ve run my ship aground
on the rocks of the soul
There’s no lie like independence
there’s no demon like control
I’ve fanned the burning embers
til my house was on fire
There’s no parody like power
There’s no fever like desire
I’ve drained the wine of darkness
to the dregs of deceit
There’s no drug as strong as pride
There’s no blindness like conceit
I’ve railed against the mountain
With a pickaxe and a file
There’s no minefield like presumption
There’s no death wish like denial

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

I’ve adjusted my prescription
til I couldn’t trust my vision
there’s no killer like convenience
there’s no sickness like omission

I’ve amended resolutions and resisted explanation
There’s no trap door like emotion
There’s no pit like reputation

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion
There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

This is part of a series dissecting the song “No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock. In the series, I am taking two of the statements he makes and exploring the depth of meaning behind them and what I can learn about myself in the process.

Dear God, I read the to “truisms” from this song this evening and I knew exactly what I think about convenience and I have no idea what to say about omission. So let’s see where we end up.

There’s no killer like convenience

This one seems so obvious to me that it almost doesn’t need my explanation. However, those are usually the times when you have something new for me to examine.

Convenience is absolutely dastardly. On a macro scale, just look at the difference in the need for antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications in developed nations vs. third-world countries. You would think that all of the conveniences of life in developed nations–access to food, clean water, transportation, work, nice/air conditioned/heated shelter, Internet, etc.–would fill us with joy. Why doesn’t it? Why does it seem that the more we are challenged the happier we are as people?

Take the NBA. Why is it that the biggest guys are usually (not always) the worst free throw shooters? Why are the smaller guys usually better? Is it because the smaller guys had to develop part of their game that the big guys never did because they were just able to physically dominate? I just listened to a series about the rivalry between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. It drove Kobe crazy that Shaq didn’t work hard on his game. Why didn’t Shaq work hard? Because he didn’t have to in order to be dominant. The convenience of his size killed his drive to maximize his true potential. Hence, opposing coaches used the Hack-a-Shaq strategy to defend him because they knew he couldn’t shoot a free throw consistently enough to hurt them.

That’s enough about others. Where do I allow convenience to kill me? By American standards, I am decidedly middle class, but in the eyes of the majority of the world, I would be considered very wealthy. I live in a nice, well-maintained home. I have reliable transportation. I don’t have enough money in the bank to retire early or even retire comfortably at this point, but I do have enough to take care of an unexpected emergency. And I am a person who likes to create my comfort zone. At work, I want to build a safe situation where I know that I won’t have to worry about paying the bills, making payroll, or having the resources to help the patients who come to us. It is very tempting for me to lose the “eye of the tiger” (thank you Apollo Creed from Rocky III), and one of the things I need at work and in my personal life is accountability. I need my wife and friends to hold me accountable at home, and I need our staff and board of directors at work.

I would be remiss, I suppose, if I didn’t spend some more time about why people in industrialized nations are so depressed and anxious. I think the answer is probably pretty simple. You created us to work. You created us to survive. However, when everything is just there for the taking (i.e. convenient) we feel an incredible lack of meaning in our lives. I suppose it’s up to me to figure out how to find that meaning in my worship of you and the work you call me to. Even if I had all of the money in the world, there are still things in the world that need attention from someone. Children are suffering. Schools are struggling. People are hungry or need medical attention. I could go on an on. The point is, just because some parts of my life might be “convenient” doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t press on and reach the end of the race (Philippians 3:14).

There’s no sickness like omission

Omission can mean so many things. I wish I knew more concretely what Charlie was referencing here. Did he mean omitting information and truth? Did he mean omitting people? If this is in any way related to “convenience,” perhaps he means being exclusionary of others and only accepting certain people. I guess I’ll go with that one for now. It kind of fits.

The idea of accepting or rejecting others based on some sort of pre-determined criteria is a sickness that permeates not only our society, but our individual souls. And I’m talking about rejection for any reason–race, religion, politics, socio-economic standing, etc. If I set myself or my social circle apart from others then I am missing a huge part of your creation and I am grieving you. After all, how can I be your ambassador, how can the church be your body, and how can our nation impact the world for your glory when we are prejudiced over one criteria or another?

I confess that I am still tempted in this area. I watched a movie last night in which the actress was dressed like a complete s***. At one point, she platonically checked into a hotel with a much older man and I told my wife that if I were the hotel clerk I would call the police because it looked like a human trafficking situation. I did NOT like this character. I wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with her in real life. I would have missed how damaged she is. I would have possibly missed an opportunity to help her. I would have simply judged her and moved on. I still do it every day, and it is a sickness in me and so many of us.

Father, please help me to be aware of the omission of others that I allow into my life, and help me to not be killed by convenience. Help me to ask you each day to make me aware of the work you have laid out for me, including the people who have for me to love, and then please bless that work so that I and everyone who comes into contact with me will be drawn closer to you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

Tags: , , , ,

“No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock – No minefield like presumption, no death with like denial

“No Insult Like The Truth” By Charlie Peacock

I’ve run my ship aground
on the rocks of the soul
There’s no lie like independence
there’s no demon like control
I’ve fanned the burning embers
til my house was on fire
There’s no parody like power
There’s no fever like desire
I’ve drained the wine of darkness
to the dregs of deceit
There’s no drug as strong as pride
There’s no blindness like conceit
I’ve railed against the mountain
With a pickaxe and a file
There’s no minefield like presumption
There’s no death wish like denial

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

I’ve adjusted my prescription
til I couldn’t trust my vision
there’s no killer like convenience
there’s no sickness like omission
I’ve amended resolutions and resisted explanation
There’s no trap door like emotion
There’s no pit like reputation

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion
There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

This is part of a series dissecting the song “No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock. In the series, I am taking two of the statements he makes and exploring the depth of meaning behind them and what I can learn about myself in the process.

Dear God, I have to say that it has been both fun and a little daunting to sit down and play with the lyrics of this song in this way. It takes a while, so I’m glad I’m doing it on vacation. In this case, I am sitting on a deck in the mountains at 3:00 in the afternoon, and I want to make sure that while I’m on vacation I’m not abandoning my love and my worship of you.

There’s no minefield like presumption

I think I need to delve into the word presumption a little. And why would Charlie call it a minefield?

I just looked up the definition of presumption on dictionary.com. I liked this specific definition for my purposes today: “The assumption of something as true.” The word assumption is key here. I looked up the difference between presume and assume, and apparently the difference is that presumption is based upon probability, where assumption isn’t.

So what kinds of things do I presume? A lot of my presumptions are based around people and their motives. I see someone act in a certain way and I presume I know their motives and what they are trying to accomplish. The biggest mistake that I think I and a lot of others make is that we presume others have sinister motives when they do something we see as mean or vindictive. Almost always, however, that other person doesn’t see their own activity that way at all. They see themselves as doing the good and noble thing. The righteous thing. The just thing. I presume they are being intentionally mean when they are just doing what they see as the right thing to do. The minefield comes when I act on my presumptions. When I ascribe those evil motives to the person and then respond in kind (righteously from my perspective and possibly evil from their perspective) then things blow up. BOOM! That, I think, is at least part of the minefield of presumption.

There’s no death wish like denial

Denial is one of those troubling things that we all fail into. From the addict that won’t admit her life is becoming unmanageable and she has to give up her substance of choice, to the person in the first step of the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), denial of reality is something that is so tempting. Dealing with the reality of a situation can mean discomfort for us. But it will lock us up. It will hurt to admit weakness and deny ourselves.

Is there anything I’m denying? Is there anything I’m glossing over in the name of peace? I can think of one situation right now that is challenging to know how to address. The temptation is to just let it sit there and deny that it is a problem at all. But it is. I know it is. I know there is a train on the track and it’s possible for it to be addressed and headed into a healthier direction. But if I deny to myself that it’s something that needs to be addressed urgently then I will put it off until tomorrow. But at some point, tomorrow is too late. Maybe, when it comes to this particular situation, I do have a bit of a death wish if I stay in denial.

Father, help me to see situations accurately. Help me to gather facts and not make dangerous presumptions. And then, when I have discerned the truth, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

Tags: , , ,

“No Insult Like The Truth” by Charlie Peacock — No drug as strong as pride, no blindness like conceit

“No Insult Like The Truth” By Charlie Peacock

I’ve run my ship aground
on the rocks of the soul
There’s no lie like independence
there’s no demon like control
I’ve fanned the burning embers
til my house was on fire
There’s no parody like power
There’s no fever like desire
I’ve drained the wine of darkness
to the dregs of deceit
There’s no drug as strong as pride
There’s no blindness like conceit

I’ve railed against the mountain
With a pickaxe and a file
There’s no minefield like presumption
There’s no death wish like denial

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

I’ve adjusted my prescription
til I couldn’t trust my vision
there’s no killer like convenience
there’s no sickness like omission
I’ve amended resolutions and resisted explanation
There’s no trap door like emotion
There’s no pit like reputation

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion
There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

This is part of a series dissecting the song “No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock. In the series, I am taking two of the statements he makes and exploring the depth of meaning behind them and what I can learn about myself in the process.

Dear God, in English classes in college I used to be critical of literary criticism (no pun intended) and think that people were intentionally trying to make something out of an author’s piece that the author never intended. Sometimes a rock is just a rock and not the hardness of my soul. I bring that up now because I can’t help but wonder if I’m doing that with this song. Am I taking things that aren’t there and putting them there. If Charlie were to read what I’ve written about this, would he fall over laughing and pity me? I don’t know. But I guess the reason I’m doing this isn’t because of what he intended in it, but to see if there is anything that the Holy Spirit has to say to me through these words that Charlie wrote down years ago. I suppose reading poetry and literature isn’t always about what the author intended to say. Sometimes it’s about what their words say to me.

There’s no drug as strong as pride

I think there are two things that give drugs their power. First, there is the effect they have on you and then there is the addiction they create to maintain that effect. So what does pride give me? What is the effect it has on me? One big thing I think it does is make me numb to the needs and feelings of others. If I am prideful then I don’t care how my actions impact others. Their feelings must be sacrificed for my pride, and if that’s not good enough for them then they can leave.

A few years ago, I heard a public figure who claimed to be a Christian say that he had never found a need to ask you for forgiveness. Well, dying to yourself and crucifying your pride is ground zero/step one for a Christian. If I don’t need your forgiveness then I don’t need Jesus. He wasted his time on me. Of course, that is ridiculous. But holding on to pride numbs me from how my actions impact everyone, including you.

I went to a presentation on how to administer a drug called Narcan, which will save someone suffering from an opioid overdoes. They compared the effect opioids have on your brain with the vacuum tubes that lotteries use for selecting lottery numbers. The vacuum tubes suck the ping pong balls onto themselves and don’t let go. Apparently, that is what our neurons do with opioids. They suck them onto themselves and don’t let go. This masks whatever that neuron is supposed to be communicating, including anxiety and pain. Narcan’s role is to come in and almost instantly knock all of those ping pong balls off of the vacuum tubes. Within about a minute, all of those neurons are instantly experiencing everything the opioid had been masking. They said that after you give someone Narcan, get out of the way because within 60 seconds they will be really alert and angry because all of the pain and/or anxiety will be back in an instant.

I think I could make the argument that pride is the same way. When I decide to come to the foot of your cross and die to it…When I decide to lay down my self and embrace your Spirit then I am going to allow myself to realize just how many people I have hurt. Unlike Narcan, I don’t think the effect is instant. It’s something the Holy Spirit gets to work on with me over time. I am still discovering ways in which I hurt others and disappoint you, even 40 years after my baptism. You are still refining me and pulling out the dross. But none of it starts until I make that first step. There is no drug as strong as pride.

There’s no blindness like conceit

As I stop and think about the word “conceit” I think about the political situation in our country–especially among non-politicians. The hypocrisy is epidemic, and it’s on both sides. There are moderates who can look at and evaluate people objectively, but it seems like the most vocal people, whether they are the media themselves or those who have a lot to say on social media, can’t see beyond whether or not the politician in question has an R or D next to their name. For example, Republicans were merciless towards Bill Clinton and his philandering (and alleged sexual assaults) in the 90s while Democrats defended him. Now, Democrats are all over President Trump for philandering and alleged sexual assaults while Republicans defend him. There is a conceitedness among both sides. They can’t admit weakness. They can’t show vulnerability. They also can’t extend love and mercy to someone with the wrong political letter (D or R) next to their name because their conceit blinds them from seeing the log in their own eyes or the eyes of those they support.

So that’s politics, but let’s bring it closer to home. What about me? Where does my conceit blind me? I know I judge others all of the time. I judge them for being shallow and making poor decisions. I judge them for not humbling themselves before you. I do it all out of conceit. I used to judge parents whose children were struggling until I went through parenting struggles of my own. Yes, as I said earlier, the Holy Spirit is still working on me and revealing my sin to me because my conceit makes me blind.

Father, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for my pride. I’m sorry for my conceit. I’m sorry for my pettiness and meanness that are really just symptoms of the shame that I try to numb with my pride. Administer the Narcan of the Holy Spirit to me. And as the absence of pride and conceit reveal the insecurities and pain that were being masked, please help me to heal.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

Tags: , , ,