This past Sunday evening, Taylor and I went to our first life group since deciding on our Charlotte church-home. We were gathered in a church member's house, sitting on comfy couches and enjoying the laid-back, friendly atmosphere. The kiddies were in one room (with supervision of course), and the adults were in another. The discussion was based around the sermon earlier that day, and we used our time to discuss our struggles and how we can stand in faith even when the world throws a lot at us.
In true Kristin-fashion, I was quick to answer aloud, sharing my thoughts with the rest of the group. As I shared, I felt a little embarrassed, though no one there did anything to make that happen. "The lie I believe a lot," I heard myself admit, "is that other people are idiots, and that I have it all together- even though I know I don't".
Most people had other answers. Answers like, "I easily believe the lie that maybe God never really said _______ is a sin", or "I easily believe that my heart and feelings are true, instead of God's word". Those are good, honest answers. My answer was honest, too. But I came away feeling embarrassed about my answer, because that simple little answer told so much about my heart.
The Ugliest Thing About MeYou see, what my answer revealed is that my heart is filled with pride. Even though I really do love people and try to treat them well, I often find myself with a better-than-thou attitude when people say something that I believe is ridiculous.
It is important to me to stand firm in my moral values and biblical beliefs, and that's a good thing. But what's not a good thing is having a bad attitude towards people who don't have the same moral values and beliefs that I do. Thinking to myself, "they are so dumb to think that!", is not a Christ-like attitude (even if it's sometimes true). Why? Because we all fall short. Admittedly, some more than others, but we are all equally in need of a savior, equally in need of a heart change, and all susceptible to wrong thinking. And therefore, instead of my prideful attitude, I need to come at it with love, even when the other party does not.
I'm a self conscious person, and I feel like I am too fat, my nose is too big, my eyes are too close together, etc., but after I heard my own life group "confession", I realized that the ugliest thing about me has nothing to do with physical appearance. It isn't my nose, my weight, or my acne. The ugliest thing about me is my prideful heart that creates a crappy attitude towards people that I should be showing intentional love to.
The ugliest thing we can do is let sin in our hearts. All the highlights, acne solutions, expensive makeup, or weight loss in the world cannot hide the unattractiveness of sin. We can try to bury it. We can pretend it doesn't exist. We can smile and act like we've got it all together- but none of us do. We all have sins that we need to tackle through God's help. That's the only way to wipe away the ugly.
Find the UglyNow, with that said, let me just say this- wiping away pride (or whatever sin) does not mean you shouldn't have an opinion. It does not mean you shouldn't stand by your beliefs. What it does mean though, is that we've got to remember that when someone isn't living like they should, or they believe something that we feel is ridiculous, we need to change our mindset to love them with a deep compassion for their lack of understanding of the truth. We need to go from prideful and irritated to kind and genuinely concerned.
So my challenge to you, dear friend, is to stop looking at physical appearance (your own, and that of others). In that regard, you are beautiful- and so are they. Instead, look deep within and see if there is any ugliness hiding in your heart. When you find it (because you will), ask God to transform you, and work to live out that transformation. Also ask Him to help you have compassion on the "ugliness" of others. We all need grace in our lives.