The Crucible Part 2

My last blog I spoke about a crucible. To summarize God uses the difficulties of life to stir up the defects in character so that he can help heal it. I mentioned that I was having a “Crucible” week and I must admit my dross that surfaced was yucky.

In the pressure-ful situation that was presented to me I choked. I said some hurtful words to my wife. Soon afterwards I knew I was wrong by principle but I suspect that somewhere internally I had given myself some sort of egotistical pass.

You know the type of self-authorization that has the rationale;

sure …I shouldn’t have said those little words

BUT SHE DID DO THIS AND SHE DID SAY THAT.

To be honest I was so focused on my own upset-ness and my own pressure that I had in effect warranted my own actions. That is until I met with my friend. My friend listened and validated my struggles but then he asked a simple question that humbly knocked my self-righteousness onto the ground. He asked me, “I wonder what it is in you that thought it was ok to say those things to the woman that you love, knowing that it would hurt her.” Proverb 27:6 came to mind “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses”

His pointed question hurt my pride but it was exactly what I needed; a revelation of the truth that was happening right then. I knew because I had been studying about how GOD uses stress and pressure to refine my heart. GOD was indeed appointing me to deal with some issues. Indeed what was in my heart that not only justified my unloving words toward my wife but blinded me to the conviction I needed to see the situation rightly?

I then thought about another verse that talks about the crucible; Proverbs 27:21 “Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.”

This is a very interesting verse to me and these days life presents it in interesting ways. Social media allow one to present the parts of life that we want other to see. I saw someone actually post on Facebook “I wish I actually had the life that I try so hard to portray on Facebook.” Sometimes it’s so unrealistic.

I’m not bashing Facebook. It has a very positive side. Celebrating the exciting and accomplishments in life with ease from a handheld device is fun and often fulfilling. It feels good to share the noble parts of life with people that care.

However if anything embodies the verse, “Man looks on the outward appearance but GOD looks upon the heart” Facebook would fit that bill. I have had many people build me up on what a “great”, “amazing”, “fantastic”, even “perfect” husband I am after many posts.

A lot of the time I bristle at these accolades. I mean the only person whose opinion truly matters on that subject would be my wife right? In this moment of my ugliness I could only pray that she remembered my good side. The“postable”me.

Of course there is a temptation for all of us to insulate ourselves from challenges and negative feelings. That’s what I was doing when I was justifying my own actions that were camouflaging the true issue of my heart. Believing the praise that I am really just a good guy, a great husband was the test here. The yuck of my heart had risen. A lesser friend may “multiply kisses” here and tell me that my true heart was fine but my counsel was to dig into my heart. To process why I chose the way I did. I am grateful I did.

What I saw there I did not like. Because I did not hide it, I was able to move from anger to guilt and restore relationship with my wife. It didn’t remove the sting of my words, which may only come with time and trust, but it showed me something about myself that as I look at it can bring valuable change and the intimacy and trust that we seek.

This is something that was tested by the praise that I received. I enjoy that praise. But when truth comes knocking it speaks a better word than praise and I heard it. I did not choose to comfort myself with the notion that all was ok and I was a good man. I chose to look at the whole truth and dig deep in the belief that becoming the man my Father wants lies in this path.

So as you read this blog don’t hesitate to say a good word because I do enjoy it. It does encourage me and build me up. But don’t be upset if I don’t believe every word all the time, I know it may be a test.

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