Have you ever read or heard something that was so subtly profound that it was almost as if you heard an audible click somewhere in your mind as a puzzle piece locked into place. Perhaps it makes something fit about life, about a relationship, or maybe just about yourself and something you’ve been struggling with.
This happened to me yesterday. I’m reading John Powell’s The Secret of Staying in Love* and absolutely loving it (I think he is becoming my new favorite author). While discussing how people can sometimes have a negative reaction to hearing someone else complimented he asked a question about himself:
“Why have I become such a jealous guardian of his humility?”
Someone is rejoicing over a victory, but I don’t want to rejoice with them because I’d hate for it to go to his head. In fact, I want to kick him when he is down because I want to make sure how much work he still has to do. He/she needs to know just how pitiful they are and I’d hate to think they were something more than what they are. I have to make sure that they hear from me exactly what I think they are capable or incapable of. Again, when did I become such a jealous guardian of their humility? When did that become my job?
Do I do this with my wife and kids? Do I see myself as the jealous guardian of the humility of my family? Do I see myself as the lone voice of wisdom that God has placed on this earth and in this family to make sure everyone knows their place? And of course, their place is somewhere subservient to me.
Oh, I’m not suggesting that I should never offer any critical advice. I’m simply suggesting I need to check my motives. Why am I so intent on making sure someone else’s head doesn’t get too big? When did that become my job? Isn’t my job as a husband to love and cherish my wife? Isn’t it to edify her and lift her up? Isn’t it to help her see what is best about her and what is glorious? Isn’t my job as a father to bring my children up to maturity, not keep them down? Isn’t my job to help them discover what their inate gifts and abilities are, providing them the encouragement and resources to pursue those things?
If my family is like me, there will be plenty of scenarios in life to help them stay humble. In fact, I’m pretty sure if humility is the thing they need to help them glorify and serve God, God is pretty good at allowing thorns in the flesh to make sure that happens.
And so again, I have to ask why I have become such a jealous guardian of their humility? Maybe the issue isn’t with my family. Maybe it is with me. Maybe I need to spend some time looking at what is going on in me to find out why their victories, rejoicing, successes, compliments cause me such inner turmoil. Perhaps I need to spend some time getting humble before God and figuring out what fears and insecurities are crippling my relationships with others.
I need to quit being the jealous guardian of others’ humility and instead be the victorious champion of their joy and well-being.
Remember, Gods’ way works for our families.
PS. I want to share a victory. I played The Settlers of Catan* with some friends. On my next turn, I was going to win the game. The friend who played just before me won and won because I wasn’t paying attention and let a trade happen that gave her the game. In time past, I would have been livid. I would have been livid at me for being so stupid as to make the mistake and definitely livid at her for taking the game from me. Instead, I was just happy to have gotten to play the game with some new friends. That may seem small to you, but you can ask my family, that is huge. It was a little sign in my book that says God really is working on me. It was a sign that reminded me God’s way really does work. Have a great week and play some games with your family.
* Yes, these were affiliate links. Trust me, you want to click on them and buy something. John Powell’s books are easy reads and truly profound and there just isn’t a game that is much more fun than Settlers of Catan. Here, I’ll give you another opportunity.