I was talking to Adam about his recent comments on his Lent experience (read them here) and I started thinking about what sucks up valuable time in my life and steals my joy.
And as I thought about it, I realized there’s a lot of things. I mean, a lot a lot. Food, meaningless time in the interweb…
But I think there are two big things for me. They’re not really Lent-type things to give up so easily, more “putting sin to death” items. These being anger and an uncertainty about accepting compliments as compliments.
I get angry far more quickly than I’d prefer; not nearly as much as when I was a younger man, but it’s something I’m on the watch for constantly. And as Adam and John (my good friends and colleagues) can attest, some days are better than others. Ephesians 4:26-32 is a constant reminder to me that I must be vigilant in this. It’s okay, even a good thing sometimes, to be angry. My problem is when it turns into sinful anger and I get unnecessarily cutting and harsh with my words.
My other issue is compliments. I cannot easily accept a compliment, even if it is genuine. Perhaps it’s because so often compliments are used as political currency: I say something nice about you to butter you up, then spring my agenda. Perhaps it’s some bizarre form of pride. I’m sure someone would say it’s because I didn’t get enough hugs as a kid. All this to say, I don’t know how to react to compliments, much to my detriment.
Not surprisingly, both of these issues are related. Both point to a lack of grace, both to give and to see.