I’d Rather Be a Jerk and Win an Argument than be Humble and Lose It
Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
In alcoholics anonymous, I learned about the dry drunk. This is the alcoholic who has stopped drinking, but alcohol wasn’t the root problem. It was only a symptom. His primary problem is that he’s terribly self-centered. He’s prideful and selfish, thinking only of his own will, doing whatever he wants. Those around him hoped that when he sobered up, this would all go away, but it didn’t. Even in sobriety, he’s still a cantankerous jerk, because, well, that’s just who he is.
I’ve been there. Though I stopped using pills years ago, there have still been times where my wife has had to point out, “You’re still acting like an addict”. She didn’t mean that she thought I was using. She just meant that I was still being a prideful, selfish jerk.
This can be a problem for many of us, not just those who’ve struggled with chemicals. We may have different names for it, but this is any of us who, in our pride, fails to act humbly and lovingly to those around us. Nowhere is this more obvious than at home, with those we’re supposed to love the most, but with whom we’re also the most likely to reveal our true nature.
It’s at home, with our children and spouses, where we’re most prone to express our selfishness. We must win every argument, no matter how silly. We must get our way, and we must always be right. It doesn’t matter how prideful we act, as long as we prove our point and get what we want. Maybe we don’t drink, but we’re addicted to self, acting like the dry drunk.
In today’s passage, Paul called us to a different life. He said that, because of what God has done for us, we must choose to live in humility. We must be gentle, patient, loving and we must seek unity and peace. Though it’s not our nature, we must realize that being humble is more important than winning every argument. Being kind and loving is more important than getting our way.
This isn’t easy. We’re not made perfect when we come to faith. This is something we will have to work at every day for the rest of our lives. If however, we want the marriage and family that God intends for us, then we must continually choose humility and kindness over selfishness and needing to be right.