Facing a Superiority Complex

Facing a Superiority Complex

My Bible has a very strange habit. Sometimes I’ll be reading along, enjoying some quiet time in the Word, and suddenly my Bible spouts thorns. “Ouch!” I think as I read a particular passage, that stings. This is the sharp point of the Holy Spirit’s elbow, nudging me to get my attention. It is God’s way of saying, “This part right here is for you.” Today it was a passage in Ephesians.

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Ephesians 4:9 (NKJV)

I didn’t get the full impact of the holy elbow until I read the commentary in my Thomas Nelson study Bible. I read, “Bearing with one another in love describes being patient with the shortcomings of others. Often we ask God to be patient with our own failings, and yet do not exercise the same type of patience ourselves.“ Has Thomas Nelson been following me to work? Was Mr. Nelson listening at the door the last time I got annoyed with my husband for losing his keys (again)?

Then, as the Holy Spirit often does, this thought was reinforced though a sentence that jumped out of a book I was reading:

“It is impossible to forgive someone when you feel superior to them.” – Timothy Keller, from the book, The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith

I always thought it was other people’s fault that they got on my nerves. Could it be a pride issue with me instead? Surely not, I say and go on about my business. Then I attend church and my pastor decides to dwell on this passage:

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  John 15:12 (NKJV)

Hmm. Let’s see. Did Jesus ever snap at Peter for being slow on the uptake? Did He get snippy with His disciples when they answered a question wrong or misunderstood one of His parables? Nowhere in my Bible can I find an example of this. I only see Jesus responding to them with the patience and kindness one would show to a small child.

That gives me a lot to think about, and pray about too. One thing I know for sure, if we have a willing attitude and a teachable spirit, God can work wonders in each of us. I pray that the thorn I felt in my Bible today will be a blooming rose of more Christ-like behavior in my future.