Posted by: Kerry Spencer | April 11, 2009

I’m a prideful punk

On Friday nights, our routine is to have a couple residents over for dinner. Tonight one of the guys, Bart, was a newcomer to Jeff. St. He’s still figuring everything out, including who Matt and I are.

We tried to explain that we are both staff and residents. We tried to explain that we are in the HOPE program and he is in the Fresh Start program. Bart was wondering if the HOPE program might be a better fit for him. A major reason for that may be that our apartment makes the average resident’s room look like a broom closet.

But this discussion caused me to feel a sense of pride and superiority. Part of me wanted to say, “Look, the Fresh Start program is for guys with mental illness and substance abuse problems. The HOPE program is for good Christian folks who want to help those messed-up people.” In other words, “You can’t be in our program because you’ve got too many problems.”

Although I didn’t say any of that, I’m terribly ashamed that this arrogant attitude raised its ugly head. The reality is I am a sinner, just like everyone else. And I don’t just say that because the Bible says so. I witness my own sinfulness every single day (my pride, for example). I’ve got very serious problems and am in need of serious help. Brennan Manning puts it this way, “To be alive is to be broken, and to be broken is to stand in need of grace. Honesty keeps us in touch with our neediness and the truth that we are saved sinners.”

The fact that I do find myself in the blessed position of being able to help others is only by the grace of God. “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10). I thank God for that. Yet, I cannot forget that I am in need of help as well. I pray I don’t forget this lesson on humility.

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