I saw this quote – online I think…I can’t say exactly where it is from, but I loved it. “Self deception can keep me stuck in old ways of thought and behavior. It can allow me to justify and rationalize.”
Oh how this speaks to my life. I mean how easy is it to point out the flaws in others and so difficult to see my own?
Matthew 7:3-5 (New International Version) says:
3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
This isn’t present in my life in just the big areas but in the “small” ways too. But it is these small things that keep me trapped in my own self-deception, justifying my behaviors and not seeing the log in my own eye.
So what are these “small” things that I really need to be giving to God to fix in my life?
Gossip. I would like to think that I am the type of person that doesn’t spread lies, that I wouldn’t repeat something hurtful about another person just for the purpose of repeating something “juicy”. And for the most part I don’t…but isn’t just talking about someone behind their back at all succumbing to gossip? Or the fact that even if I don’t have something to “contribute” that I participate just by listening and not setting a good example by walking away?
Judgemental. It is WAY too easy for me to judge someone else’s behaviors. I do this by saying “Can you believe that she….”. or “She says she is focusing on doing the right thing and then she goes and does…..”. Funny how in those times I am not saying that about myself.
Hypocrite. I’ll be honest – this is a big one for me. I frequently have the opportunity to work with others and share how God has done some really great things in my life. I can easily hear another’s problems and tell them what worked for me in the past…or what I would do and then a day, an hour later be confronted with a situation and I act in complete hypocrisy to what I had said before. It is almost as if I have to keep relearning the same lessons over and over again.
So often we – and by we I mean me – get stuck in this cycle of self-deception. I justify my “small” wrongs by comparing them to the big wrongs that others have done. Well at least I am not doing drugs, at least I am paying my bills, at least I am….the list could go on and on.
But the truth is that I can’t compare myself to those of this world. I will always in my mind be able to find someone worse off then me. But just because I can find someone behaving worse doesn’t mean that I am behaving according to God’s standard either.
My standard of comparison should be Christ. I know that I won’t achieve a level of perfection comparable to His but I should be seeking to model my behavior after Him.
Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version) says:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
Those are the things that I should be focusing on each day. How can I be kind? Am I being faithful in thought and deed? (For me this includes being respectful towards my husband) Was I patient with my children? Was I joyful and loving with those I came in contact with today?
I am a flawed and sin-ridden human being. On my best day, left to my own devices, I am capable of being a hypocritical, judgmental, gossip….and then some.
On my best day, with Christ as my guide, as my center, I am capable of being a loving, kind, forgiving wife and mother – focused on God and what He would have me do with my day.
So I challenge you today….in what areas are you allowing yourself to be deceived? Pray about these things and ask what God would have you do with your day, you attitude, your life. I am certain that He will challenge you/me in those areas and work to refine you/me into the person He would have you…have me to be!