Jeremiah 24:6 (New Century Version)
I will look after them and bring them back to the land of Judah. I will not tear them down, but I will build them up. I will not pull them up, but I will plant them so they can grow.
It’s unhealthy and hurtful but we’ve all experienced it—the temptation to build ourselves up by tearing others down, to prove our superiority by exposing another person’s flaws. Sometimes the barbs are subtle—an innocuous comment that nevertheless stings because it feels like an insult. Other attacks are more blatant—a well-aimed criticism that targets a known weakness or injury, leaving the victim angry and embarrassed.
If we grew up in families where these tactics were used to manipulate power, then we probably expect God to act in much the same way. Consequently, we hide our weaknesses from him for fear he will use them against us. We pretend to be perfect so he will not shame or reject us. What we don’t realize is that God doesn’t need to prove his superiority at our expense! His love for us is pure, uncomplicated by sinful pride or latent feelings of inferiority. Our Father God desires only that we present ourselves—our whole selves—for his care and nurture so that he can protect and comfort us, heal and enjoy us.
FATHER, every relationship in my life has had its share of stings and barbs and efforts to manipulate. I confess that sometimes I was the victim, and sometimes I was the aggressor. Search my heart and show me the tender areas that trigger my need to bolster my ego at the expense of others. Give me faith to trust in your love so that I can be whole and real in your presence. Shield me from the hurtful manipulations of others, and help me to forgive them as you expose the same weaknesses in me.
Nahum 1:7; Romans 14:19; 1 Peter 5:6-7
How did your family experiences shape your view of God?