Wednesday, July 17, 2013

No Room for Pride

Pride. It's an ugly thing. I know first hand. I have struggled with it most of my life. Thankfully, less than I used to prior to the "fall out of 2011," but I still have to give it to God daily and not let it fester in my own heart and mind.

Proverbs 16:17 (The Message) says it well, "First pride, then the crash - the bigger the ego, the harder the fall." 

I don't think that pride is always associated with arrogance and extreme selfishness, but the two often go together. I was prideful, yet deeply insecure. Therefore, some days I can't tell the difference - Am I being prideful or insecure and distrusting? Regardless, both need to be repented of and given over to God to change, remove, transform, and heal.

Now that I am aware of my tendency to drift toward pride, I am freer to admit that I struggle with it and can work on changing it. I hate pride, so some days I have trouble being around overly prideful people. Particularly those who either don't see it in themselves or stubbornly refuse to change. As the proverb says, a fall is coming one day. I hate it for that person, but like me, it is what some people need to get "woken" up.

Pride shows itself in many ways...
  • Defensiveness
  • Criticism of others
  • Blame and victim minded 
  • Refusal to admit they are wrong
  • Bitterness and resentment
  • Secrecy, Lies
  • Have to be in charge and don't like to be told what to do
  • Act as if others should "serve" them, regardless of how they act
  • Entitlement thinking
  • Negative
  • Lack of trust in others but expects others to trust them 
  • Has to get their way all the time
  • And on and on
After I confessed to Amy that I had been unfaithful, pride was the last thing I needed to have. As I do my recovery work, pride is the last thing I need to have. There's no place for it. It will only hinder my growth as a Christ follower and lead to more relationship difficulties in my marriage, at work, at church, and really, everywhere.

Some men/women who confess to an affair and say they want to stay married, are truly repentant, humble, and sorry for what they have done. They keep up the hard work of recovery and don't resort to defensiveness and "rushing the process." However, there are many who initially respond well and seem sorry for their sin, but soon drift back toward pride.

Some examples are:
  • Your husband or wife who was initially kind and gracious, suddenly starts pointing out your faults, expressing his/her list of disappointments in your marriage history, rather than taking full responsibility for his/her sin and giving you plenty of time to process the betrayal. 
  • He/she gets overly impatient a few months into the recovery work and wonders why you are still bringing up the past/struggling so much.
  • He/she gets defensive when you vent your frustrations instead of tending to his/her need for affection, despite the fact that it has been only a few months since you found out he/she has been unfaithful. Not to mention he/she has stopped tending to your needs or communicating openly as he/she did in the beginning of the recovery process. 

This is why I say, "your spouse's initial response in the beginning of the recovery process does not always determine how things will turn out OR how he/she will continue to respond (good or bad)." A patient, kind, attentive betrayed spouse in the beginning, may move into the anger phase and demand answers and struggle emotionally. A year later, one of you has a very "dark" day and is overwhelmed with painful memories that sends you spiraling into an emotional fog. Two years later you run into one of the women your husband had an affair with and suddenly feel nauseated and angry, all over again.

You see, recovery is lifelong. Things can get progressively less intense (assuming you have done the hard work early in the recovery process), but it's a daily decision to do the work or not. Pride has no place if you want long-term connection and healing. Healing from adultery is an 18 to 24 month INITIAL process, followed by a lifetime of sanctification, pruning, healing, accountability, and marital connection and growth.

During that two year period, and especially afterwards, you can look back at your marriage history and see how you both contributed to the problems in your marriage. It's not your fault that your spouse cheated, but it is an awareness and reminder that neither of you want to go back to the way things were BEFORE the affair(s).

Going back to the way things way were before would be insane. You need to learn from your marriage history so that you can move forward and make things BETTER, different, and more fulfilling, satisfying, and God-honoring. Pride will not allow this to happen. Rushing the healing process will not allow this to happen. Blame, resentment, unforgiveness, and even denial won't allow this to happen.

Let God do the hard work in you, even if it HURTS LIKE _____________. Don't give in to pride, fear, or the pain. Walk through it!!!!! God is the hero of your story! Let Him do something miraculous and amazing! Don't give up!!!

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