I used to be "that guy" once. Fiery, quick to talk big, like I knew it all. I still do sometimes, but if you knew me 2 years ago you'd be shocked at how God has changed me.
So it's not without a degree of shame and humility that I write this. But I just gotta write this.We all know "that guy" in our lives. Maybe we are "that guy." You know, the one constantly ragging on famous pastors like Warren, Piper, Driscoll, etc. Saying how we'd "do things so much differently" and throwing around poor theories like they are gospel. Some stoop to snootily snorting or scoffing at them, calling them all sorts of names. One guy (who will remain anonymous), just recently, quipped that, "Wondering what Mark Driscoll says about marriage is like wondering what Popeye has to say about ballet." Really? You're going to critique a guy who clearly has a successful, God-honoring marriage, who just co-authored a book on marriage with his wife? He followed it up by saying, "Mark Driscoll is a braying, cretinous, troglodyte." Really? Disagree with his theology all you want but personal attacks on character and intelligence is not just rude, but blatantly un-Christian and ridiculous.
And throwing around fancy words isn't impressive.However, even as I passed judgment, rightly or wrongly, on this individual, I remembered how often I was and still am "that guy." I felt awful. It is so easy for us to be like football fans watching a Superbowl game, critiquing how the coaches choose their plays. "REALLY? That's so dumb!", we shout. "What are you thinking!? Why would you ever choose THAT play?!" Well, gee...I dunno. Perhaps because they just successfully coached a professional football team to a Superbowl. Raise your hand if you've done that recently... Anyone?
Didn't think so.Successful Christian leaders get under fire for everything. We set them on pedestals and then whack at them like holy pinatas, gleefully hoping they'll fall and we can benefit from it by gloating how much better we could do things in their shoes.And we need to stop. Now. Write several books, plant a few churches, have a couple decades of successful marriage, raise loving, respectful kids, know your Bible better than the CNN belief blog, and then you can talk.Until then, let's rally behind those clearly being used by God to touch and change lives for eternity. Let's support them in prayer. Attacking brothers and sisters in Christ for using their gifts the best way they know how is unacceptable and prideful.During the first Elephant Room debate, in response to someone not liking one major evangelist's methodologies
, Driscoll said, "Here's a guy (the evangelist) who led thousands
of people to Christ, and here's a guy (the critic) who didn't and doesn't like the way the [evangelist] did it." It's absurd. And like I said, that sort of thing needs to stop.
There's a reason that we sit at home watching the Superbowl while others coach it. They got something right. We can shout all we want, but for most of us, at the end of the day we're not the ones with the Superbowl rings.
Please Answer the Following Question:Have you ever known or been "that guy?"
For those who expressed concern yesterday, thank you. For those of you completely in the dark, I broke my wrist yesterday while skiing. This is the story.My wife and I went skiing with several homeschooling families from our church yesterday. We had a large group, and many of those who went were kids from the youth group. This was my first time skiing. Ever. And this was the 2nd time for my wife. We were newbies.After spending several hours enjoying ourselves and even skiing down some black diamonds, we had very few falls or close calls, so my wife decided to tackle the biggest hill. As I watched
her successfully, though tentatively, make her way down the hill, a tiny
piece of pride flared up and decided to make itself known. "Well, if she can do it, I can do it."But, since she had already gone, I needed to try something else that she hadn't done yet. I determined to take a jump at the bottom of one of the medium-difficulty hills. A jump. I don't know why my amygdala
decided that this was a wise time to stop functioning, but apparently it did. Thanks for nothing, amygdala
.So I barreled down the hill toward the jump that I was confident would redeem my lost manhood. Right before the hill, however, my fear-response mechanisms
within my lazy amygdala
suddenly returned from their bathroom break and said, "Joel, don't be an idiot."
However, I was too close to bail and too close to effectively slow enough to make much of a difference in speed, so there I went, flying through the air, skis to the sky. It felt like an eternity. I looked behind me and the ground seemed far, far away. I knew it was gonna be bad. So I placed my left arm behind me, instinctively though perhaps stupidly, to cushion the impending meteoric landing. And...snap.
"Oh man, that's a break", I thought to myself as I lay there hoping no one saw my biff.
At the hospital I was in good spirits, and I joked around to make my wife and Geneice (one of the parents and youth volunteers) more comfortable. Most memorable was one moment when the nurse asked a question regarding the fall. "Do you have a history of falling?", to which I responded with a dry smile, "Only for my wife."
It was a clean break, right through the radius, with a slight bone chip on the other side of the wrist as well. No biggie.
Actually, more painful than the break at the time (though this is no longer the case) was my lower back, which had taken quite a beating too. One might call that a lovely contusion
. So, I have 6 weeks of being encased in a hard cast to enjoy. And I suppose there are lessons to be learned. Here are a few:
- Never ski off a jump if you've never skied more than 4 hours in your life
- Don't fall prey to pride, thinking that you have to "prove yourself"
- When you have a broken bone, singing hymns like "It Is Well" on the way to the hospital is actually quite calming
- Staying lighthearted and positive in the face of difficulty makes handling the situation better for everyone involved
- Nurses can actually enjoy your visit more if you make them laugh
- A moment of stupidity can lead to consequences that you may not enjoy
- If you are married to a great wife, having a broken bone leads to you being treated like a king. And it can be totally worth it. :) Love you, Carica!
So, thanks for your prayers and concern. I should be ready to go and healed in 6 weeks!Question: Have you ever had a moment of stupidity that ended in regret? What did you learn?
I admit it, I'm a discontent person all too often.
In fact, I'm probably don't even realize how bad it is. But for me, I'm not discontent about the things you might immediately think of when considering this subject. Sure, I'm a guy, so I would enjoy having a nicer car. I'm also married, so I sometimes wish I had a nicer home to provide for my wife. But I usually don't struggle much with longing for personal possessions.
So, what can you be discontent about then, you ask? So much.
The thing I'm most discontent about is usually where God has brought me in life. I'm always a forward-thinker. I'm always thinking ahead to "what could be" and how to get there. But you know that old saying about slowing down to smell the roses? I think it was written about me. I really need to slow down.
Nothing is good enough for me, sometimes. I want what I don't have, and then when I get the things I want, they are no longer enough either. But they aren't physical. They usually have to do with vocation or people noticing me for something I've done well.
I seriously hate getting praise. If you know me, you may have noticed how hard it is for me to look at someone in the eyes when they praise me. I'm not humble. Don't let me fool you. I just know that I need to take that praise and throw it past me to God before it sticks to me and becomes a huge burden. My ego's weight could sometimes sink a battleship.
I thank God for my loving wife who keeps me humble. I thank God for being a constant source of humility. I need it so much. I mentally recognize my inability to do anything good. I know that I can't achieve anything apart from the grace and mercy of God who empowers me. But it doesn't change my struggle.
So maybe you're in the same boat. Maybe you struggle with the same things. Keep fighting. Keep your eyes on God. And admit your failures. I'm the biggest screw-up I know. You gotta know it. You gotta own it. And you gotta kill it.
Question: How can we effectively fight against our pride? How can we win?
I believe that pride is the root of sin. Although the biblical authors do not spend time discussing explicitly how this is the case, they also have no reason to do so. Although they wrote heavily about how sin is “missing the mark” and “falling short,” that is merely the outcome of sin, not the root cause of it, in my opinion. In writing to common people, not lofty theologians, the writers of Scripture focused on application of truths and how to conform to the image of God. In doing so, they did not waste time by trying to explain the origins of all sin. Instead, they focused on its outpouring, what it looks like in action and what the character of a sinner (and conversely, the righteous) looks like. In the Hebrew we see the following words used to describe sin: 'avah (bent or crooked), 'aval (lack of integrity), 'avar (transgress), ra' (the rule of evil), ma'al (breach of trust), and chatha (miss the mark/deviate from the norm). In Greek we see: parabasis (transgression of a boundary), parakoe (disobedience to a voice), paraptoma (falling instead of standing upright), agnoema (ignorance of what one ought to have known), hettema (diminishing of what should have been fully rendered), anomia (not observing the law), plemmeleia (disrupting God's universal harmony), hubris (pride and cruelty), and hamartia (to miss the mark).
All these definitions are helpful to describe sin, but I do not believe we can decipher the root cause of sin from any of these definitions alone. Instead, I believe we must look to a deeper, more innate problem that must be addressed, and I believe that problem is pride.
When we are prideful, seeking our way above God’s and desiring to be our own masters, we step out in defiance against God and commit an abominable offense against His honor and glory. The result of this pride leads to falling short of what God has created us to be, creatures who live in honor and praise of Him as God. We miss the mark toward which we were meant to shoot, and instead aim our lives in another direction, defying our Maker.
In the end, Proverbs 16:18 says it well, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Could it truly be that this was the problem to begin with?