More thoughtful analysis from the book, Inside Out:
The inside look that brings about real change is unnerving, and it should be. The diagnosis of sin is not a pleasant one, and we tend to resist it whenever we can, preferring to think we’ve come farther than we have.
We simply must get to the core of the matter. The kind of change that most delights our Lord will never occur as long as we fuss only with sin in behavior or pain in the heart. Sin in the heart must be uncovered, looked at, and dealt with. When we understand we’re thirsty people who foolishly go in the wrong directions to find water, then we can look at our style of relating with the openness to recognizing a demanding, self-protective motive beneath our actions.
But we won’t see these wrong directions on our own, any more than a coal miner will see where to dig without the help of a flashlight. Disciplined people won’t recognize their protective (and unappealing) rigidity without help. Analytic types will fail to see that their cool logic, far from being admired, discourages those who would like to be close friends. Successful extroverts may go through life thinking everyone enjoys their social noise. Shy people may continue to regard themselves as quiet because of temperament and never see that their quietness is a protective cloak.
We need help to see ourself clearly. When we’re serious about taking an inside look, God provides three sources of light:
- The Spirit of God,
- The Word of God,
- The People of God.
Each resource can be used to replace the blindness of self-deceit with the clear vision of integrity. ~Larry Crabb
Self-protection is an easy place to run to when one has been hurt over and over again. I’m one of those people who was hurt early in life from abuse (not an excuse just a reason). This has helped to solidify in my mind that all people are not safe people. And I have chosen to protect myself. I hid behind my anger for many years. Then I turned it inward and became depressed.
God has done an amazing work in me. I am learning to become vulnerable. The Spirit of God works within the heart and mind searching deeply. He reveals the hidden darkness, the ugly ways of relating.
And I have learned to love The Word of God. I’ve delved deeply into the intricacies of His Word to gain more of His mind. I pray that I will be washed with the water of His word. And I’m finding more and more His delight in answering that prayer. 😕
But, getting close to the People of God has not been easy. That’s where the hurt can begin…again.
We’re all sinners. Each one of us on this earth is sinful. Some of us are redeemed and some are not. God’s people are redeemed. But that doesn’t mean that they’re always nice! I mean, the old saying, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread,” seems to be apropos in the way we deal with one another in the church. Lots of us think we have been given the title “Holy Spirit” and we choose to speak for Him at will…and I’m not talking about His will!
Hurt people hurt people.
It’s another old saying, but very true and well worth remembering.
I like what Crabb has to say. But, that third source of light…hmmmm…it has become harder and harder to trust. I wonder how much more effective we would be in the church if we would truly follow the exhortations in scripture?
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how you should answer everyone.
Some would quickly answer, “But salt stings!” as an excuse for their biting ways. To them I say, “Delve deeply into the Word.”
Gracious: that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech…good will, loving-kindness, favour
Salt: salt is a symbol of lasting concord, because it protects food from putrefaction and preserves it unchanged….wisdom and grace exhibited in speech
So…what are the characteristics of gracious speech?
A sweetness that is delightful to the ears.
A charm that is lovely, not deceitful.
A pleasure that gives joy in the hearing.
Words which preserve fellowship.
Wise words full of lovingkindness for all.
I desire an inside look and am actively pursuing that goal, learning how to move past my self-protective ways. In this walk of sanctification we’re taking together, let’s (the Church) learn to be gracious with one another. It is hard to be vulnerable. Some of us are hurting, deeply. We need gentle care to be able to heal.
Do not tread where angels fear to go.