Jesus reveals hidden pride to risk manager
L struggled with a vicious cycle of family conflict in spite of her best efforts at being a model Christian at home. Through prayer, the Holy Spirit revealed to her that she had built a defence mechanism of pride and control in order to compensate for a sense of rejection from her earthly father. God then enabled her to extend grace to her own family. Praise God!
Arguments have long been part of my family life.
It saddens me to say that one of my strongest memories in the last couple of years has been that of my parents, my younger brother and I taking turns to scream at each other at home. Honestly, I struggle to remember what issues caused the arguments. What does matter was that in virtually every case, I was the one to blame for the fight.
Since becoming a Christian and reading the Bible, self-reflections, fellowship with other brothers and sisters-in-Christ, I gradually developed a much better understanding of my childhood and my family dynamics, and the impact of these on my psyche.
Slowly, I began to want to treat my loved ones better.
It has always been my hope to love my family and those around me, according to what God has taught, so that they will also believe in Jesus Christ one day. Things, however, did not quite turn out the way I had imagined. I just could not hold my peace and ended up arguing with my parents again and again. Even when I did not say anything, I still felt disgruntled inside.
My parents would rebuke me from time to time, saying, “What is the whole point of you going to church and believing in God now? You still have such a bad temper!”
They often quoted a Chinese phrase, “A leopard cannot change its spots.”
Hearing them say this made me feel discouraged. It was like all my hard work and all the changes I had gone through had come to naught.
Most times, I lacked the courage to go to my parents afterwards and admit my faults. To me, such acts of repentance were like making promises to my parents, or even to God, that I could never keep. I felt condemned and guilt-ridden. Eventually, I gave up repenting because it felt pointless; I would feel “right” with God one day and “wrong” the next.
It was a perpetual struggle and I could never really feel the joy of true salvation.
A friend suggested that I sign up for renewal prayer. As my prayer counsellors were fasting and preparing for my prayer session, the Holy Spirit revealed through one of them that I had hatred towards my parents. I was actually a bit shocked as I thought I had dealt with my un-forgiveness towards my parents in an earlier prayer session.
During the prayer session, one of my prayer counsellors gently asked me to imagine my earthly father standing in front of me and tell him all I wanted to say to him. My tears went out of control as I opened my heart and shared the pains of growing up without fond memories of daddy-daughter date-nights, special words of affirmation, or feeling like daddy’s little girl.
The Holy Spirit revealed to me how my father’s experiences, his engagement in different forms of occult practices, and his pledges to ungodly associations in the past have brought about wounds and bitterness which have been manifested in different aspects of his life.
As a result, my dad physically isolated himself from every one of us in the family.
One of my prayer counsellors then brought up the question of whether I was ready to forgive my father. Initially, I felt stuck. But after repenting of my own sins and confessing my forefathers’ occult sins, as well as cutting ungodly soul ties with these, some of the initial hindrances were lifted.
Miraculously, I took up the courage to relinquish my right to hold my father responsible for the abuse and wrongs that were done to me as his daughter and lay down my un-forgiveness at the feet of Jesus Christ.
I was then asked to cover my father with a prayer of blessings.
This entire process gave me a brand-new level of compassion towards my father that I would not have had otherwise. I was given the gift of perspective, enabling me to see my father as a broken human being rather than through the lens of disappointment. I felt relieved afterwards.
Subsequent to the prayer session, I continued to ponder on the roots that prevented me from choosing to forgive and causing constant conflicts with my family.
To my surprise, the Holy Spirit gave me the word “pride” several times.
Proverbs 13:10 NIV Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
God revealed that such pride has been my defence mechanism in response to my fear of the rejections I had received first-hand from my father growing up.
My pride has been so blinding and deceptively sneaky that I did not even notice it in myself. Little did I know that the manifestations of pride have been evident in my life.
I would burst out in anger or frustration because my expectations were not met, I would struggle with criticism because I could not accept who I really am, and I would speak about others’ sins with contempt, irritation, frustration, or judgment.
Hence, I was also left overwhelmed with two other debilitating issues.
The more notable one was my people-pleasing attitude.
On the surface, I was clearly concerned with helping and serving others. In fact, it was all about self-satisfaction and self-preservation – fearing men more than God and chasing after the happiness that comes with man’s approval.
A performance-driven living style complicated the issue. My goal was to always do something that distracts people from the things that I think they won’t love in me or to find a solution so that no one would see the things that I felt ashamed of.
I thought my behaviour could change my standing with God where in fact, it was Jesus’ perfect behaviour that secured it.
Unfortunately, this toxic thread of performance even wove itself into almost every fabric of my life. I struggled with being a false “burden bearer”, helping others but being uncomfortable with receiving help. I rejected things from others to avoid feeling the need to have to do something back. These greatly hindered all my relationships, especially the one with my family.
My service was also conditional. I sometimes chose to only help those who showed me love and care. Thankfully, I was guided to confess these sins and to cut all ungodly soul ties with the spirits of performance and shame at the prayer session.
God also replaced my lies with His truths by blessing me with the following verse during the prayer session.
Luke 6:32-36 NIV If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
The other issue was my struggle with control and manipulation, which were most notable in my relationship with my family.
I mistakenly believed I knew what was best for my family members and therefore, tried to control or manipulate their behaviours and situations on their behalf.
Given the fact that my parents did not know Jesus Christ, they often did things that followed the ways of the world, not the Bible.
Instead of being sympathetic and praying for them all the more, I became very judgmental. My attitude made it very difficult for them to seriously consider Christianity.
Instead of submitting to a righteous and sovereign God, they were forced to submit to a proud and rebellious me.
Through all these revelations, I truly witnessed the hands of God at work. He humbled me and removed the lens of pride from my eyes. All this enabled me to see myself more clearly and confess my pride.
By God’s grace, I can turn once again to the glorious gospel by identifying all the places my pride had hidden inside of me. Just as my concealed pride once moved me toward death, so the acknowledgement of my own pride moves me toward life by causing me to cling more fiercely to the righteousness of Christ.
Though it takes time to bring our hearts to the point of genuine repentance, it is a deep and joyful blessing. There is a wonderful relief in our hearts when we repent. It was Jesus who led the way of humility to the cross and then the joy that followed the resurrection. It is Jesus who empowers us to live this way. And this is the gospel to be lived out in our lives every day.
To receive notifications of new posts from Teaching Humble Hearts, please subscribe here .