The Weight of Pride
Matthew 1:19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
When Joseph found out Mary was pregnant, he made the dignified decision to quietly end things with her. He could have publicly objected to her apparent infidelity, but being a good man, he decided to sweep it under the rug. To this, God said no and commanded Joseph to marry Mary. God was apparently more concerned with his plan for Joseph and Mary than He was with their dignity and pride.
Like Joseph, I long to sweep indiscretion under the rug. The last thing I want to do is talk about my embarrassing failures and I certainly do not want it in the paper. It is precisely through my failures however, that God works in me and in the lives of those around me. It is through the humility and need of my disaster that I find God and that God finds me. I therefore, need to learn not to sweep pain away, but to allow God to work through my failures.
If I want to try and maintain my pride and dignity, God allows this. To my dignity, God says, Go ahead. Carry on your vain attempt at pride. It is your burden to bear, I will not carry it for you. When you are ready to abandon pride and give to me your tragedy and disaster, I will bear that weight for you. Your burden will be light. Or, keep your pride and be crushed by the weight of self. Your choice.
Joseph could have insisted on dignity and pride, but he was obedient. I face the same choice. I can give my mess to God for his use, or I can try to salvage dignity. Only when I am honest and open about my defects, can God do his transforming work in me. It is through my transparency that God uses my failures to affect those around me. When I walk into the jail and meet the inmates, it is not as a lofty minister. It is as a fellow struggler who, like them, needs God. God uses my need and defect to speak into the lives of those, who like me, have need and defect.
I happen to have a somewhat disastrous story, but I do not have to have such a story to be honest about my need. I can be transparent about whatever defect I happen to have. I may struggle with anxiety, depression, anger, resentment, lust, greed, pornography, or affirmation from others. Whatever my struggle is, there are those around me with a similar struggle. When I am honest and use my defect to turn me to God, He will use it to help those around me.
Only in giving my defect to God, can He transform the worst thing about me into the best thing about me. Joseph could have been disobedient and thus disqualified himself from the opportunity to raise the Son of God as his own child. My choice may be a little less dramatic, but it is the same choice of obedience or pride.