Tag: pride

Pride: Kryptonite To Answered Prayer

obstacleIf you have ever prayed for someone you can understand how difficult it can be to get that prayer answered.  It is especially difficult if you have strife with someone.  There is no prayer you can pray that will impose your will on someone else.  I have had to do this many times and I can tell you from experience that praying for people is the most difficult thing a believer can do.  It will seriously wear down your faith.

The problem is pride.

There is no doubt that God can answer prayer but He will not force anyone to do anything.   People have free will to make their own decisions.  Although God won’t make someone respond to your prayer He can make someone wish they had.

If there is one thing I can tell you from experience – don’t give up.   I know it becomes repetitive and you can go days, months or years without seeing any progress whatsoever but eventually something can happen.

Most recently for me I reconciled with my dad shortly before his death.  Before that last month of his life, we had gone almost eight years without speaking.  When my mother passed away, I thought he had shut the door on us forever.   But…..I kept praying for him and me.  I had to pray for myself just as much as I did for him.  If I wanted God to answer my prayer and reconcile me and my dad I had to be ready for it.  My heart and mind had to be prepared to forgive and let things go.  That’s hard.  I won’t lie.  I had a hard time with that.  I had this ritual every morning on my first walk to my work location that I prayed for him and me.  Some days is was the same worn out prayer every day and some days I was quite angry about the situation.  I didn’t understand it and  I vented to God about it.

Let me tell you that my dad was a stubborn man and set in his ways.  I prayed that God would soften his heart towards me.  There are some days I was just ready to write him off.  “I’m done!” I would say.   Praying for someone isn’t always so glamorous.  It’s hard work.

Still I managed to pray through the situation where it looked like nothing was happening.   I prayed through my own anger and frustration.  I can even remember times I would have a profanity-filled tantrum about it.  God understood.

I wrote letters and sent cards which were never answered.   Still I kept praying.  I would get aggravated with myself because it was the same prayer and I was bored with it but God knew my heart in the matter.

Shortly before my wife and I went on a trip, I felt like writing him again.  I wrestled with doing so but the thought that kept going through my mind repeatedly was this:  “It is never wrong to do the right thing” so I wrote him a letter and put it in the mail.  When I picked up our mail upon our return, I received a handwritten letter from him.  He apologized for everything and wanted to see me.  As I stood there reading that letter I could hardly believe what I was reading.  After all of the time that had passed, my prayer was finally being answered.  It was a weird feeling.  I can’t say that I was overjoyed but it took a while to sink in.  Then I wondered:  Was I ready for this?  I struggled with this thought.  Could I possibly let everything go and press on?

When I called him for the first time, he gave me details about his medical problems which were very serious.  He told me that he had bladder cancer and was scheduled to have his bladder removed the week of Thanksgiving and wanted me to be there.  He was also having issues with something called Pulmonary Fibrosis.  He had just finished his last chemo treatments for the bladder cancer and little did we know at the time that these treatments had made his Pulmonary Fibrosis worse.  When my cousin called to inform me that he had been admitted to ICU in Gainesville, Florida weeks before his bladder removal, I decided to go down and be with him.  He passed away a week later due to complications from the Pulmonary Fibrosis.  In that time we had together, were able to talk and we made most things right.  Some things we couldn’t but I will always be grateful for the time we had.

If you saw the movie “I Can Only Imagine”, I felt like I lived that movie with my own father.  It was tough.

Yes, God answered my prayers but you never know how that answer will come or how it will be.  Being an impatient person, it is agonizing for me to sustain prayer for something or someone for this long.  I tell you that you get weary with it.  Fed up with it.  You want to give up.  But God understands more than you think He does and He sustains you even when the prayer gets stale and boring.  I can tell you that some days I just honestly ran out of words to pray about it.

I have now heard people tell me about how Dad was wearing down and being drawn toward reconciling with me.  Pride was the barrier that kept it from happening sooner than it did.  It’s hard to pray against someone’s pride and resistance.  I did that and I was blessed that God finally broke through to my dad’s heart to let me back in.

So how did I do it?  I didn’t do it by prayer alone.  I also had a wife that encouraged me and reminded me that I had done everything I could do.  She had to remind me to not blame myself.

If you think I’m some kind of super intercessory prayer warrior like that Miss Clara in “The War Room” you would be seriously mistaken.  I was nowhere close to being like that.  The only thing I can tell you is that I never gave up.  I may not have had papers pinned up in a prayer closet somewhere but I always had the prayer for him.   I also had several songs which encouraged me as well.  I salute the song writers out there who put words to these songs that encourage us.  Many of them are still on my playlist.  Here are those songs:

  • Gather At The River by Point of Grace
  • God Is In Control by Twila Paris
  • It’s Not Over (When God Is In It) by Israel Houghton & New Breed
  • Jesus Is by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
  • Made Me Glad by Hillsong
  • Never Been A Moment by Micha Tyler
  • Overcomer by Mandisa
  • Warrior by Steven Curtis Chapman

Although I wish the prayers had broken through his pride sooner so we could have had more time, I am still very thankful that I had that last week with my dad.  It wasn’t a Hollywood ending but it was good way to end when he said his last words:  “Beam me up Scotty”.   I think he was finally ready.

So, yes, praying through someone’s pride is difficult but not impossible.  Galatians 6:9 tells us “Let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.”

Don’t give up.  Keep praying.

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Offending the Offender

pointingRecently a situation occured when I called out someone for doing something wrong. I hate to witness an injustice or someone who thinks they are above the rules. When I corrected this person, they proceeded to fuss me out about it.  The offender was offended that I called them out on their offense.

Confusing?  Yes, it is.

Sadly this is the time we live today. This is the time when you can’t enforce the rules or correct anyone. The strong wall of pride keeps people from owning up to their mistakes and move on. Instead they would rather turn it around on you and make you feel bad for making them accountable for their actions.

And then there’s the gun issue.

I’m not going to debate the gun issue because I know each side is adamant about their views and will attack you for believing the opposite of what they believe – however – you can’t hold people accountable anymore because they will think nothing of pulling out a gun and shooting you. It doesn’t matter whether they are right or wrong. There are too many people out there who have little or no regard for lives. They will use a gun quicker than trying to reason out a difference. Regardless of how you stand on the gun issue you only have to watch the news to see how easily people resort to their guns to resolve their conflict.

One of the places most of us deal with this is on the roads. Road rage incidents have increased and people will pull over and want to fight you if you call them out or blow your horn at their infraction. It’s a crazy world out there. How is it that the offending party refuses to take responsibility for anything?

This week I had to apologize for confronting a neighbor for blocking MY driveway. The confrontation got heated as I got fed up with the complete inconsiderate act by the neighbor while I reminded the neighbor that what they had done was in violation of community rules yet I had to apologize for my reaction to it. Did you follow that? Yeah it gets a little confusing.

I don’t get it.

Our society today seems to be too prideful to admit to doing anything wrong. Just say “I’m sorry” or a “my bad” and move on. None of us are perfect. Quit the fussing. It’s not worth it.

I have never seen it as bad as it is now. It’s an epidemic. The pride flu has spread like the plague.  So what can we do to handle these moments of injustice?  I know that the Bible says to “turn the other cheek” but when you’ve already done that then what?

The easy answer is to let it go.  That’s not easy.  We have to be wise in picking our battles.  I still think we should speak up when we need to do so.  Sometimes the situation calls for it but if things escalate beyond what it should be, we should also have the strength and ability to calm things down.  As the old country song goes:  “Know when to hold’em and know when to fold’em.”

Here are some things that might help in dealing with these situations:

  1. Ask yourself if it’s worth it to confront the offender.  It’s important to identify the situation and whether or not your confrontation is justified.
  2. Stay calm.  Keeping cool will keep the situation from turning on you.
  3. Avoid personal insults.  Stay on the subject of the offense.
  4. Know when to back down.  Sometimes you’re just not going to win.  Backing down isn’t weakness it is intelligence.
  5. Notify the appropriate authorities.  You don’t always have to resort to calling the police but you can address some situations through other authorities.

If you or I are the offender and someone calls us out on something, let’s remember that side of it too.  Either apologize and move on or try to calmly explain your situation if there was a reason you took the action you did.  A soft answer to when we have been called out usually turns out a whole lot better than flipping someone off or ignoring the offense.  We are all human and we all have these moments when we are either the offender or the victim of the offense.

It Ain’t Bragging If Nobody Cares

“I’m good just ask me.”

Yes, I actually heard someone make that comment for real and they were serious about it too. It came from a person that was probably the most arrogant person I have ever worked with. If I had a top ten list she was a runaway #1 on that list.  Working with her was the longest two years of my life. She was a terror and even proceeded to take over in the absence of my supervisor.  She thought very highly of herself.  I had more years of experience but that didn’t matter much to her.

This wasn’t the first time in my long career that I have had to deal with arrogant personalities.  I have dealt with many during my time.  I learned that it is just how things are. There’s no escaping it because every office has at least one arrogant person.

They are evil. The dark side of the force. Where do these people come from? Why do we hire them?

I used to pray that God would remove these people but I realized God had a sense of humor because He replaces that person with TWO of them. Yes very funny.  I have changed my prayer to focus more on helping me to cope rather than removing them.  Of course, I’m never sad when they move on but they certainly do seem to hang around.

You know who the arrogant ones. They are the know-it-alls.  The proud.  You can’t tell them anything they don’t know more about. They are good. Just ask them.

I used to work in a room full of sergeants when I was in the military and the arrogant one of the group thought he was the expert on every subject. He was notorious for chiming in on every conversation within earshot.  There was never an A-to-B conversation when he was around.  I would often walk in and just throw out a random subject, let him loose and leave. He would expound his knowledge on that subject for the next 30 minutes. It was a little joke I would play on the others who knew what I was doing.

You have to find a way to cope with the arrogant ones or they will find a way to get under your skin.  That is something that gives them more power.  I should know. I have made the unfortunate mistake of allowing it to happen. Once, in another office, the arrogant one called me out in a staff meeting. It wasn’t pretty.  I wasn’t a very good handler of that situation.  My defensive response ended up making me look bad.

Just a note here about arrogant people around you or in your group…if you look around and can’t tell who the arrogant person in your group is then it COULD be you. Just sayin.

We don’t like arrogant people. They make us work hard at suppressing our gag reflex. It takes a lot of effort to keep them from getting to you. Unfortunately, when they do get to you somehow YOU end up looking bad and they come out smelling like a rose and they have managed to make you look like — fertilizer.

So how does this happen? They somehow find a way to push our buttons. They seek it out like a bloodhound. They will even eat your lunch – literally. It’s the Hunger Games of arrogance.

One thing I have found that works is to not contribute to the inflation of their egos. If they brag about themselves ignore it. Blow it off. If they suck you in you will regret it.

Pride goes before the fall. I have always heard that and it’s true. Something I have always seen with arrogant people is that they will eventually burn themselves. In the end, they are their own worst enemy.  My only complaint has always been that it never seems to happen quickly enough. Sometimes it goes on for years. Never underestimate the power of the force of arrogance but be assured it will come to an end.

Without a doubt, arrogant people will look for ways to challenge you and show you up to make themselves look good. I should know. I have the tread marks of the many times I have been throw under the bus.  The best way to handle those situations is to not let them think they got to you. Just stay focused on what you do. Don’t let them get into your head or create self-doubt.

And you thought that work itself was a full time job. You have to almost have a degree in psychology to navigate the workplace or any place where you deal with large groups of people. Arrogant people care more about winning than about friendship. So beware.  Don’t let them get to you or walk all over you. They will use you as a means to get what they want. A friendship with an arrogant person will be a rocky and one-sided.

So, on that note, off to work I go.  Ready to battle the forces of arrogance.

What Is WRONG With People?

d49erparkingWhy is it that when you park in a parking lot with LOTS of parking space that someone decides to park RIGHT next to you?   And then they have to squeeze their way out of their car!

What is wrong with people?

I don’t know.  It left me thinking of other unexplainable things that people do.

  • You pushed the button for the elevator and someone comes up and pushes the SAME button.
  • People talking very loudly on their phones.  Why is it that voice levels are higher when someone is on the phone?
  • New employees who immediately want to take over.
  • People who throw their money or credit card on the register.
  • People who get way too close.
  • People who barrel out of the aisles with their shopping carts without looking.
  • You set up your chairs in the park or on the beach and someone sets up right next to you.

So what IS wrong with people?   Two things:  Selfishness and Impatience.

People want to do what they want to do when they want it.  They do not want to wait on anything or anyone.  We no longer care about the “Golden Rule” or any other rules for that matter.  Instead of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, we just try to get ours done first.  People are wrapped up in their own little worlds more than ever thanks to our smartphones.  It’s me and my friends list and if you’re not in that list then you are invisible and not worth my time.

loud_talker

Yep, that’s the world we live in now.

Honestly, I have been walking in the hallway of the building where I walk and people will run over you if you are in their way.  People refuse to move or acknowledge you are there.  It’s crazy.  You begin to think that you are invisible and, sadly, that’s how people see you if you aren’t a member of their little world.

And don’t get me started on people’s use of language.  It is very discouraging how people have a total disregard for others.  It used to be that people were more conscious of their surroundings and courteous of others.  People have no problems rattling off repeated F-bombs without regard to who is around.  In the not so distance past, men would apologize if they accidentally cursed in front of a woman.  Oh, forget that now.  The women are cussing back just as much as the men.  It’s sad really.

Don’t even think of calling someone out about their selfish actions or they will rip you a new one.  It amazes me that you can correct someone for doing wrong yet they fuss you out about it when THEY are the ones in the wrong.  So let’s add prideful to the selfish and impatience of our society now.

So what can we do about this?

Not a damn thing I’m afraid.   I blame smart phones for how bad is has become and the mentality behind it.  The attitudes have gotten worse the minute we have a communication device in our hands instead of the people in front of us.

The only thing we can do is to not let the selfish/impatience/prideful attitudes of others change us.  Sure, we are all selfish at times but not the extreme we see out there today.  The actions of others doesn’t mean we have a right to join them. I do think you still need to pick your battles and stand up for yourself when you think it is necessary.  You also have to be careful with that too because people are so angry and just ready to blow a fuse.

You will end up really disappointed if you think people will do for you as you do for them.  Not everyone has the same heart as you do.  The important thing is to do our part.  It might not change others but we must not allow the negativity to change us.