Friday, September 2, 2011

Lose the chip

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

From my years of anger, I can definitely say it's not worth it.  It just makes you empty and miserable.  It brought bad choices that hurt others and myself.  I saw this saying on a paper towel and really liked it:  "Forgive others. Forgive yourself."  Sometimes I tell myself  "Forgive and forget and move on."  I must confess though sometimes the hardest person to forgive is myself.  That's probably pride, thinking more highly of myself than I should, and then being extremely disappointed.  Sometimes we think humility is self-hate.  But that's not what it's about.  Being humble is to consider others as more important, not better.  It's learning to be selfless when I help others, to listen without changing the subject to me.  A challenge for sure!

Jesus quoted this verse from Leviticus.  It says to love others as yourself, not to hate yourself.  If we confess our sins, He'll forgive us.  Seems like we should too.

Leviticus 19:18
"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord."
There used to be a thing called "worm theology."  The belief that we are lower than worms and completely worthless.  I've honestly never read anything like that in the Bible.  God loves us so much He died for us.  If we were worms, we'd be fish food.

Proverbs 3:30-35

30 Don't walk around with a chip on your shoulder,
always spoiling for a fight.
31 Don't try to be like those who shoulder their way through life.
Why be a bully?
Anger really does twist our souls, and sets our imaginations in really bad directions.  It's good to get angry, a very human emotion.  It's bad to hold on to it tighter than love.
32 "Why not?" you say. Because God can't stand twisted souls.
It's the straightforward who get his respect.

We know God hates the proud, He loves the meek, humble, the persecuted.  Think about a world where everyone says, "Thank you," "Excuse me," "I'm sorry," "You can have it.  I'll wait."  After I became a Christian I got very polite.  It's actually quite fun to see people's faces light up when I say, "Thank you."  We've lost that in our society.
33 God's curse blights the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
There's nothing like being down to make me humble.  That's when God can help the most.
34 He gives proud skeptics a cold shoulder,
but if you're down on your luck, he's right there to help.
35 Wise living gets rewarded with honor;
stupid living gets the booby prize.


  1. The hardest person to forgive is always yourself. I think our brains are constructed that way, or maybe it happened after the fall. But we can't go forward until we forgive ourselves; we just keep going in the same circles.

  2. Thanks Glynn- it's so true. Glad to know I'm not the only one with this struggle. Maybe it did happen after the fall. It must've been a huge shock when Adam & Eve realized what they really did.

  3. Yes, it is tough to forgive ourselves. But it is comforting to know that Jesus does forgive us, and isn't that all that matters?

  4. I can relate to this post for sure. Anger is draining and so so just takes and seems to feed off itself. There is very little grace to be found in it. Thankfully God grants us grace though and we get through it but the memory of anger still hurts I think, or at least, it can, even years after the fact.

    I like what you say about humility as well. I think it's tough to explain to others because very often people do think it means being down on yourself but I also believe humility means putting others fist but never losing the sense that you are also a person of worth. I don't think humility means that if a person is a really talented writer for example, that they need to say they aren't. I think one can be humble but also acknowledge God-given gifts...but perhaps that's the key, acknowledging they are God-given...

    Anyway just thinking as I write.:)

    Great post Karen!

  5. Yes Clint- I think you're right the most important forgiveness comes from Jesus. Who am I to question His judgement? Good point.

    And Colleen- I really appreciate what you said. It's a hard call when you are complimented in the arts. On the one hand the gift is from God, the subject in a photo, our abilities. We really shouldn't downplay them. Sort of like false humility. I've had compliments that made me feel uncomfortable before. In one of my jobs the guys lined up and said, "I'm not worthy" and bowed before me calling me the Queen of the web. I busted up laughing. When people compliment us, I think it's meant as a gift- an act of humbleness on the other persons part to recognize another person's success. That's how I mean it when I give a compliment. It's very important to acknowledge the Lord's hand in our work. And also to thank a person who encourages us. It takes a bit of courage to walk up to a person and let them know they were a blessing. I still have a bit of shyness, and it takes a bit of courage to accept a compliment graciously. And that horrible fear we'll let it get to our heads and become monsters! But never fear the Lord is very capable of keeping us humble : )

  6. I just thought of the other side of the arts- what do you do when no one seems to like your work? I always include the Lord in my work, so sometimes I just smile and say, "I like it Lord. Thank You." And then let Him know He can use it however He likes. As humans we don't always like the same things. We shouldn't let it devastate us. I'd imagine Pastors have some of these same struggles. It must take a lot of courage to do sermons on Sundays.

  7. Wow I just realized why I like to be God's servant. It's not a roller coaster ride for my ego. I am His and He is mine. A painting here, a Bible verse there, helping someone out, a day of photos... Life is good with Him.

  8. Yes He is amazing at keeping us humbled!:) Sigh...but it's for our good right, that's what I keep telling myself at least.:)

    I think that is a good question, because art (be it painting, writing, anything) is so personal that when we show it or put it out there on our blog, it can leave us pretty vulnerable. And if someone comes out and says they don't care for it or even if it's just that nobody takes notice of it or nobody comments on something that we have poured our hearts into...well.hmmm...I think you're right, God loves us anyway. Maybe it's just that simple! We want what we make to be liked and approved by others, to be affirmed by it but if that doesn't happen? I think it's hard not to feel down about it but thankfully we are offered constant love and affirmation by God Himself. Good food for thought Karen!

  9. haha I'm thinking too : ) I think what helped me in college a great deal- for an inspirational writing class, the professor told us to submit more than one article at a time to publishers. Then if one gets rejected, you still have hope in another. If we invest all of ourselves in one piece of work, we're more vulnerable. We all have duds... we're human. Thanks for getting me thinking about all this : )