But I’m not perfect. And of course the Bible is very happy to remind me of that. I can’t read through the book of Proverbs completely without saying, “whoops” more than once. Here are a few of my “oh so favorites”:
“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret” (Pr 11:13). For the record, I’m not part of the gossiping crowd. But it doesn’t mean I never was. In fact, when I was in high school I prided myself on being the “gossip queen,” knowing peoples business, though not really airing it beyond my small group of friends. And just a few years ago I was in a group where it was gossip or sit quietly because it was the only thing I could really think of to talk about; other people’s business. That is no longer me. I have left that arena far behind and I’m better for it.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (Pr 11:2). Pride. Now there’s a problem I have. A big one, really. I have prayed for humility, and I’m working on it, but I still have my issues with it. I was actually talking with my pastor after church one Sunday and he had told me how I’ve become more humble. Oops. Guess my pride really shone through there before that day. Of course that was a great compliment, especially since I knew it was something to work on and continued to remind myself. I continue to remind myself of that. Pride hurts me. When it shines through I make the wrong choices, and then I regret them later. But they’re done, and there’s nothing more I can do. It has even kept me from doing things or saying things that I wanted because it would stand between me and whatever I was facing. For one thing, if I hear someone recount a story of something that happened to them, I’ll make sure not to have it happen to me because, well, I’d just be copying them and it wouldn’t be real. Seriously? Why couldn’t it happen? Especially if it was a “God thing?” A lot of people have experiences that are similar, and sometimes we need to read or hear about someone else’s experience to realize that that’s what happening to us right now.
Yes, I have a pride issue, but I’m working on it. I’m asking God to help me become more humble.
“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control” (Pr 29:11). I’m a fool. Guilty as charged. I have had a terrible temper since I was at least a teenager, and there are times when it likes to surface, though I’m happy to announce that it doesn’t show as often as it once had. I loved my dad, but growing up we didn’t always see eye-to-eye. It was a habit of ours to have what I would call “swearing fights.” Who could out-swear the other, and who would win the fight? Usually I won, but that’s another story. His temper burned as much as mine, and I don’t think anyone really wanted to be in the house when it was going on. Oh, my poor mother. Our relationship got better once I went off to college, and our spats were far and few between, and not as much cursing.
And then I got married. I love my husband, but there are times when he can drive me completely insane. I’ve yelled at him, I’ve said terrible things, and I’ve threatened to walk out. I’ve even used the “D” word a few times. Can I just say, “Thank you, Lord,” for keeping us together, and now when we fight my temper is a lot more tame. Sure, I’ll slam cabinet doors, the drawer in the fridge (yeah, a piece of that is broken now), or throw a wet sponge at him in anger, but I no longer threaten to walk out or to divorce him. I’ve learned a few years ago that I can’t do stuff like that. The rest of it I still need to work on. I’m hoping for a day when I can find a better solution to my temper and actually put it into action. I still have a ways to go with that. Like I said, I’m not perfect. But I’m not proud of my temper. It only serves to hurt me, my husband, and my children. Thankfully my children see us make up, and we do talk to them about our fights.
“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult” (Pr 12:16). I would have to say that this in a way goes along with my temper issues. Again, something to work on.
Hmm…I should go back into Proverbs and see if Solomon wrote anything on forgetfulness. The Lord was so great to guide me through this post today. I said I wasn’t perfect, right? Today is Tuesday. All day I kept thinking that it was Monday, though I knew I was going to my mom’s house tonight for my sister’s birthday party. Tuesday. The day my daughter has orchestra. She plays a quarter-size cello and therefore needs to be driven to and from school. Since he has to go to work anyway my husband drops her off at school for 7:30 in the morning, and then I pick her up around 3:10 in the afternoon. My cell phone rang at 3:41. I had completely forgotten to pick her up! I said I’d be “right there” – it takes about ten to fifteen minutes to get there from home - but when I hung up I realized that my sons were already making their way home on the bus. Someone would have to be there for them. My mind reeled. I could talk to my neighbor about getting the boys while I went to pick up my daughter – she has been a saint when things happen and I need someone to help – or I could, oh, I don’t know. Then I remembered that my husband had called to tell me he was on his way home. How long ago was that? I picked up the phone and called him. He was at the end of the highway near the town her school is in. It would take him about the same amount of time (if not less) to get to her school than it would take for me, and this way I could stay home and wait. Oh, God is good. See? I’M NOT PERFECT. And here’s God telling me that. So I should stop the tears and just apologize to my daughter for making her wait so long. Interesting that this would all happen while I’m writing this post. Thanks for driving the point home, God.
No one is perfect. This is a world of imperfect people. We all have our follies, our “fool’s way,” but it doesn’t mean we can’t work at being better. When Solomon wrote his “woe to you” speeches, he didn’t leave it at that. He told us how we should be.
“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” Be trustworthy.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Be humble.
“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.” Exhibit self-control.
“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” Don’t take a fools words personally.
If we look to how we should act, we can correct how we do act. Then we’ll no longer be fools. I know what I have to work on. Seek for yourself what areas you need help with, and ask God for His perfect help.
Dear Lord, I pray that you help us all with those places that are not pleasing to you. Point them out to us, and show us how to change. We want to do all things for You.