Ugly. Even the word evokes feelings of discomfort, like something isn’t quite right, isn’t the way it should be, or that it should look better. Recently the lord showed me the ugliness that lay within me. It wasn’t pretty. I didn’t even realise that I had lived with such emotions for goodness knows how long! I hope you don’t mind me sharing the ugliness with you, just in case some of it has managed to sneak into your life unnoticed. I warn you this post might well have e a part 2, 3 or even 10 as God is still working on me!
This is the feeling of either being condemned or me condemning someone. And there have been lots of incidents of both in my life.
The scripture (Rom 8:1) says there is therefore now no condemnation for us because we are in Christ Jesus. The message translation says
With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here for us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.
I came to understand that condemning thoughts- fear, failure, doubt, unbelief, sorrow, were all black clouds which we must not live under. My black clouds showed up in the form of poor business sales, feelings of despondency when I felt I hadn’t done well as a mother, or when I yielded to the temptation to dwell in the past. What are your dark clouds?
The flip side of living under condemnation is condemning others. To look at someone and declare them unfit for good use. God didn’t give up on us so we shouldn’t give up on others.
The second ugliness is having a Critical spirit.
Matt 7: 1(The MESSAGE) “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. 2 That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. 3 It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbour’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. 4 Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? 5 It’s this whole travelling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a wash-cloth to your neighbor.
A critical spirit is always ready to judge. Fault-finding. The word of God tells us to work on ourselves and not on others. Again here’s a call to examine yourself. What faults do you exhibit when measured against the word of God? Gossip, Laziness, Procrastination, greed, selfishness, outbursts of anger? I think we can all agree that there is so much within us that we really shouldn’t have time to criticize others. When tempted to criticize lets stop and look at ourselves first, we just might find that we need work done too.
The 3rd is Cynicism
Cynic is a person who believes that people are selfish and are only interested in helping themselves.
When offered help, the cynic believes the other person has a hidden agenda. A cynic cannot simply receive a blessing; he believes there must be a catch somewhere. A cynic believes all pastors are out to get their money. A cynic believes all Christians are hypocrites. The reason the Lord told me about cynicism was because I was one. Still am sometimes- I warned you God’s still working on me! I have missed business opportunities because of my cynicism. I have missed some of God’s blessings because I was too cynical to recognise them as coming from Him. I’m not saying do not bless or give, but search yourself and your motive behind your actions.
Next is Competitiveness; A contest between rivals
This notion that life is one big race is wrong. Life is a journey. On that journey like any other there are sights and experiences. When the Lord told me competition was an area to work on, it was because I was competitive with some friends. Specifically- a friend. I initially thought the Lord meant she was competitive and yes she was, but I in turn competed with her. I’m not sure if guys deal with this but it is quite common with women. It’s just the way we are. I remember it being all over the news how two celebrities wore the same dress- unknowingly to the Oscars, or some other big award night. It was sacrilege. All over the papers headlines read; “How could this have happened” Others compared and contrasted, who looked better than the other in the dress. I daresay one or both women went into hiding for a while after this disgraceful event.
Competition seeks to outdo the other person, and you can only compete if there is someone else in the race with you. It doesn’t matter if your husband was clearly wrong, let it go. . There’s no need to “win” an argument- you are not Ussain Bolt.
The last ugliness so far is Comparing myself to others.
Comparing yourself to others is of little advantage to you, regardless of whether it is done favourably or not.
I want to be a successful business woman, so I read a lot about women who have gone before me. I want to see how they did it so I can do the same too. I also want confirmation that it is quite normal to go weeks without a single order. The trouble starts when I start to compare myself unfavourably with them. I look at my little business and look at their big one. I realise they had a cash injection via inheritance, I have none. They are white, I am black. They have a British accent with a name like Suzy, I have an African accent with a name like Tokunbo. All that happens is me becoming discouraged and convinced that I can’t do what God has enabled me to do. My journey seems so hard compared to her’s, the challenges are different. Ever heard the saying the grass is always greener on the other side? That’s because you’re comparing your grass to theirs.
I urge you to ask the Lord to help you in unearthing the ugliness within you. If you are honest and truly desire God’s correction, the Holy Spirit our helper will help you to exhume all that is buried beneath, and be prepared, it might take a long while.
Thanks so much for reading, I promise not to be gone so long again!
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