So, within the last week I have received two rebukes. One from a dear friend and one from a completely unlikely source.
The former started with my best friend, Crystal, teasing me- mimicking me yelling at Michael and then coddling Shiloh (in the scenario she was at fault). It was one of those ‘I’m joking but telling you the truth in a funny way’ kind of deals. I relayed the hyperbole scenario to my husband and we both laughed pretty hard. We both realized we were being played by a toddler. Like a Jedi exerting mind-tricks of the weak-minded. Shiloh being the crafty little Jedi and us being the weak-minded. We were too blinded by our love and wrapped around her finger to see. Why does she let out demonic-sounding, eardrum-puncturing screams 300 times a day? Because we have been, for the most part, quick to coddle her and give in. Lord help us, that girl is trouble! I realized it is so easy to see through that in other people’s kids. “That kid is acting like a brat! Don’t give him that sucker! He needs a spankin’!” (all thought silently, of course) But so hard sometimes to see up close in our own situations. Sometimes we need to get called out on stuff. Painful, but true.
So I am getting wise to her strategies and ignoring her tantrums from now on. I’m going to pretend like I don’t even notice. She will not get what she wants by screaming. Period. So sorry to everyone who might have to endure a tantrum until she figures it out!
I received another rebuke from, like I said, an unexpected source. It was sharp, unnerving, unsettling, and honestly offensive. I thought and prayed about it for hours. I decided to humble myself. I realized maybe God was using an unlikely source to rebuke me for my own good. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19
I did some personal repenting and times of refreshing did come. Big time. I had been confessing personal sins over and over without repentance. True repentance means a turning away from the sin. It means a change of heart. Like, say someone keeps stealing from you and then claiming that they are so sorry, and it keeps happening. Obviously, they aren’t that sorry, right? We can figure it out and God is no dummy. He hates our sin because of it’s destructive ability to tear our lives apart and ruin our testimony. He is Holy and our sin creates a barrier between us and Him. I know we will all continue to sin at times, but there is a BIG difference between a slip-up and a pattern of willful and rebellious sin.
“He lives in the height and in holiness, and also with the one who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15 You want to be closer to God? Humble yourself. When a painful rebuke occurs (it always stings!) quiet your pride and examine your heart. Even if it comes from an unlikely source. God often uses people to speak to us. God LOVES humility. It is kind of a big deal. A humble spirit is one that He can work with. A prideful spirit resists chastening of any kind and ultimately ends in futility and a fall. Proverbs 16:18 Humbles yourself so you can avoid a big, nasty, humiliating fall. God will whisper before He shouts.
So, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested and tried me,
though for forty years they saw what I did.
That is why I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
‘So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” Hebrews 3:7-11
Humility is the gateway to God’s rest, strength, power, wisdom, personal growth, and even good relationships. Yes, please!