Paul’s day turned into a whirlwind of getting lots of little stuff done (as Sunday’s are wont to become) so I am going to post my response to the marriage situation today and he will write and post his tomorrow.
As I reflected back on the two situations that we described yesterday I came to the conclusion that both of my responses displayed a shocking amount of pride.
In the first, I woke up to a frustrating situation and in my angry state (a discussion of how to handle nap-related anger might be in order someday : ) I immediately compared Paul’s actions with what I believed that I would have done. “How ridiculous! I wouldn’t have missed the exit! After all the time’s we’ve driven this route, how can he NOT know the exit name! Why didn’t he get out the GPS if he didn’t know!? Why didn’t he wake me up and ask if he didn’t know!? ” Oh yes, the righteous indignation was quickly replacing my nap-induced anger. In essence, I weighed Paul in the balance (against myself) and found him wanting. Only, as I look at the situation now, I realize that my balances were horribly inequitable. I’m not called to judge Paul using myself as the standard. Corinthians is pretty clear about what kind of person that makes me (2 Cor 10:12). In fact, I wasn’t supposed to be judging Paul at all!
But isn’t this a common mistake that most couples make? When frustrating events occur, we jump at the opportunity to extend a critical eye at the other person. We do this for many reasons, blame-shifting, anger and in my case, it stroked my ego to believe that my ability to properly navigate was vastly superior to Paul’s ability. In a two-birds-with-one-stone moment I gained not only an outlet for my annoyance over being late but also a juicy chance to feel a sense of superiority. In complete opposition to what James commanded (James 1:19), I kept up a steady flow of disgruntled speech, never pausing to stop and consider any other opinion than my own. In that moment, I should have taken all my frustration and channeled the energy away from Paul and towards the situation. It’s no use trying to create some Zen-like calm artificially, but I could have been more constructive and less destructive in my communication. Less “how could you DO this?!?!” and more “what can we do now?” Ultimately, I should have chosen not to sin in the face of a trying circumstance. I have to call a spade a spade. It was sinful to immediately judge Paul. It was sinful to respond in anger. It was sinful to be ungracious and unloving. In a moment when I should have loved Paul more than myself and trusted God rather than freaking out over a galling situation (even an avoidable one) I decided to lean on and follow my own understanding (as opposed to Proverbs 3:5-6). Pride never leads us to a godly choices…especially while on road trips : )
In the second situation, it occurs to me that my pride reared it’s head pretty quickly after I made the fateful mistake that took us the opposite direction on the blood-colored highway. I immediately began to explain why the mistake was not my fault. And isn’t self-protection sometimes a front for pride? Anyway, that situation will be discussed more fully by Paul, but I thought that for continuity’s sake I would throw in my two cents : )
Sigh. So much sanctification to be found while travelling : )
Tune in tomorrow for Paul’s take on the situation…