I know this looks like a lengthy post, but if you are looking for life-changing truth, read on.
I read somewhere this year that we can choose to toss a stone into a body of water, but once it’s thrown, we have no power over the ripple effect it will have. The author was comparing the stone to sin, but, you know, that works both ways.
Thirty-something years ago Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth threw a stone of truth into the lives of my parents, and I am forever grateful she did. The ripple effect of her friendship and ministry in their lives changed the whole course of ALL our lives: my parents, we three girls, our families, and our families’ families, and, now, maybe even you.
Her inspired thoughts about proud people vs broken people are something the Lord has used to speak to my heart over and over again. The first time I asked God to take inventory of my heart with what you are about to read below was quite a shock to my subtle, heretical I’m-a-pretty-good-person mentality.
With so many checks in the PROUD column, I had to remind myself of what John Lynch in his excellent Two Rooms message [definitely worth checking out] muses about what God might say to us when we begin to get honest and come and lay our sin before Him: “That is a lot of sin—my, my, my—and we’ll work on it when you are ready… I’ve got you covered. I’ve known all about it from before the world began. My shed blood…is powerful. I’m crazy about you…”
And then there’s the story my dad always liked to tell about the guy who was so humble that his community awarded him a badge in honor of his humility but took it away from him for wearing it….gee, I miss my dad’s jokes…
okay, okay, here’s the meat…
PROUD PEOPLE vs BROKEN PEOPLE
Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth
—for a summarized printable PDF click here—
Proud people focus on the failures of others, but broken people are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need. Proud people are self-righteous. They have a critical, fault-finding spirit. They look at everyone else’s faults with a microscope but their own with a telescope, and they look down on others. But broken people are compassionate. They can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven. They think the best of others, and they esteem all others better than themselves.
Proud people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit, but broken people have a dependent spirit and recognize their need for others. Proud people have to prove that they’re right, but broken people are willing to yield the right to be right. Proud people claim rights and have a demanding spirit, but broken people yield their rights and have a meek spirit. Proud people are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation, but broken people are self-denying.
Proud people desire to be served, but broken people are motivated to serve others. Proud people desire to be a success, but broken people are motivated to be faithful and to make others a success.
Proud people desire for self-advancement, but broken people desire to promote others. Proud people have a drive to be recognized, to be appreciated. They’re wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked. Broken people have a sense of their own unworthiness. They’re thrilled that God would use them at all in any ministry. They’re eager for others to get the credit, and they rejoice when others are lifted up.
Proud people have a subconscious feeling, “This ministry is privileged to have me and my gifts.” They think of what they can do for God, but broken people have that heart attitude that says, “I don’t deserve to have any part in this ministry.” They know that they have nothing to offer God except the life of Jesus flowing through their broken lives.
Proud people feel confident in how much they know, but broken people are humbled by how very much they have to learn. Proud people are self-conscious, but broken people are not concerned with self at all.
Proud people keep others at arm’s length, but broken people are willing to risk getting close to others and to take the risks of loving intimately. Proud people are quick to blame others, but broken people accept personal responsibility and can see where they were wrong in the situation.
Proud people are unapproachable, but broken people are easy to be entreated. Proud people are defensive when criticized, but broken people receive criticism with a humble, open spirit. Proud people are concerned with being respectable. They’re concerned with what others think, and they’re working to protect their own image and reputation. But broken people are concerned with being real. What they care about and what matters to them is not what others think but what God knows, and they’re willing to die to their own reputation.
Proud people find it difficult to share their spiritual needs with others, but broken people are willing to be open and transparent with others as God directs. Proud people, when they have sinned, want to be sure that no one finds out. Their instinct is to cover up, but broken people, once they’ve been broken, they don’t care who knows or who finds out. They are willing to be exposed because they have nothing to lose.
Proud people have a hard time saying, “I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?” But broken people are quick to admit their failure and to seek forgiveness when necessary. When confessing their sin, proud people tend to deal in generalities, but broken people are able to deal under the conviction of God’s Spirit to acknowledge specifics.
Proud people are concerned about the consequences of their sin, but broken people are grieved over the cause, the root of their sin. Proud people are remorseful over their sin, sorry that they got found out or caught. But broken people are truly, genuinely repentant over their sin, which is evidenced in the fact that they forsake that sin.
When there’s a misunderstanding or conflict in relationships, proud people wait for the other to come and ask forgiveness, but broken people take the initiative to be reconciled. They race to the cross. They see if they can get there first, no matter how wrong the other may have been.
Proud people compare themselves with others and feel worthy of honor, but broken people compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel a desperate need for His mercy. Proud people are blind to their real heart condition, but broken people walk in the light. Proud people don’t think they have anything to repent of, but broken people realize that they have need of a continual heart attitude of repentance.
Proud, unbroken people don’t think they need revival, but they’re sure that everyone else does. Whereas humble, broken people continually sense their need for a fresh encounter with God, for a fresh filling of His Holy Spirit.”
—Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth