What does it take for God to remove these defects in attitude or character? It takes a lot, because we have undoubtedly gotten very comfortable with them. We’ve been self-medicating for years. These are the judgments, rationalizations, accusations, manipulations and put-downs we have relied on most of our lives. They are the equalizers by which we try to make up for our own deficiencies in character by putting others down. We are constantly evening the moral score with other people. As long as God grades on the curve we’ll probably be okay, because everyone else is so messed up (and aren’t we glad when we find that out!).
Something this well-entrenched doesn’t go away easily. That’s why God has to remove these things. We can’t do it ourselves. Marti made me cancel a video I had ready to send out today where I tried to illustrate this in a humorous way by handing over to God various attitudes that were damaging to myself and others. We decided against it because it gave the wrong impression. It presented this as something relatively easy to do. Just hand these things over to God; that’s all you need to do. Not. A child handing over his security blanket would have been closer to it. As soon as you let it out of your sight, you want it back.
In the chronicles of Narnia, greed, selfishness and pride turned Eustace into a dragon, and to get back to himself meant a painful process of God tearing away his dragon skin. Nothing is easy to lose when it’s become a part of you. That’s why you can’t just hand it over. God has to do the work and it is more like major surgery. That’s why if it didn’t hurt, it probably didn’t happen.
Lately I’ve been discovering how I have a passive-aggressive personality and what kind of damage I have done as a result. This is like dragon skin; it doesn’t come off without great pain and I don’t think God has made an anesthetic for this.
Passive-aggressive people have anger and resentment toward those who we think have put us in the spot we are in. It’s how we equalize our lack of personal responsibility: blame others for our predicament, and then secretly harbor hostility towards them in our hearts. Sooner or later that hostility surfaces in harmful and hurtful ways. Over time, we become very good at this to where we don’t even know we’re doing it. How do you get rid of this? Do you just hand it over? Chances are, we can’t even find it. We have to have God rip it from us and it’s not going to feel very good.
This step says we are ready to have this done. It’s a pre-op step. We’re telling God, “Go ahead, Lord. Get to work on me. I’m ready to be done with this. Whatever it takes, I want to be rid of it.”
Better put your name in. There may be a waiting list for surgery, but you and the people around you don’t have time to wait.
Here are some study questions for today. Use these for your own reflection or leave a comment below to join in the discussion.
Step Six: Are ready to have God remove all these defects of attitude and character.
1. How do you equalize your deficiencies in unhealthy ways? How does it hurt you and others around you?
2. What defect in attitude and character in you would hurt big time if God were to remove it from you right now?
3. What would it be like without that “equalizer” in your life?
4. Once we have an awareness of sin, what are our options? Why is “middle ground” impossible once we realize what we really are apart from the sacrifice of Jesus?
5. How will we know the operation to remove these defects has been successful?