SERMON 2. Don’t call me STUPID!
How do you react when someone calls you ‘stupid’? Most people bite back. In Matthew 5:22, Jesus challenges people who call others ‘stupid’ to think before they accuse, because the act equates to killing the person’s character and earns hell punishment. Therefore, the person who brands others as ‘stupid’ is actually passing judgment on themselves because it’s the height of hardness to have experienced the pain of being called ‘stupid’ and then to turn on others with the same hurtful brand. Jesus doesn’t judge them; they’ve judged themselves. Everyone has said in their heart, “you’re stupid, I can do it, why can’t you?” It’s hypocrisy to hate being called ‘stupid’, but then turn around and call others ‘stupid’, and it’s insanity to not even see that we’re doing it. We need the mind of Christ. Our own mind is contaminated with our selfish pride, and we can’t even see it. We see it in others, but pride can’t see it in ourselves.
Q. How do you know whether you are in Pride or Humility?
A. you can measure it by your mood, and by your reaction to authority.
When you react to being put down, you expose that your own mind is unable to control its own emotions, just as the one putting you down is also out of control of their mind. Now there are two issues instead of the original one; the offender is in sin and the offended is now in sin, too. You’ve taken the bait. Satan uses this to trap us and embarrass Christ through the failure of His followers. But, God uses put-downs to give us an opportunity to see our pride. Jesus came to save us from our pride, not to give us a better deal. No one knows the depth of their pride; it’s hidden in our sub-conscious, and we automatically locked up there to avoid the pain and embarrassment of its exposure. It has to be brought to our conscious conscience in order to own it and repent. Repent is giving up your pride. Repentance isn’t feeling sorry; it’s giving up your defensive justifiable position by surrendering to God’s will.
In circumstances when you’re offended, you can’t forgive until you first repent of your pride. You have to repent first, before you can forgive. Most people don’t really forgive someone for hurting them, they just settle their emotions and call it forgiveness, and trust in their own analysis. It’s a contradiction to hold resentment against a put-down and at the same time forgive the person for their hurtful comments. It’s a contradiction to forgive and stay in pride, and it’s not the love of God to demand the offender to apologise first before you’ll forgive them. Most people say that’s not fair, they hurt me. Why do I have to repent first? When you respond that way, what you don’t realise, is that your pride has just surfaced out of its subconscious level. Your pride has been exposed by the offense against you. Our pride can’t see that; all we can see is their unjust attitude to us. This reveals that you are not in your right mind. If you were in your right mind, you would know that you were reacting in pride to someone else’s pride. You need the mind of Christ to see that you are in pride. And to get the mind of Christ you have to let God show you your pride and repent of it, then you’ll know through Christ’s mind that you’re being tempted with your pride. If you don’t see your sin, you’ll trust in your own analysis. Temptation is simply a demonic voice appealing to your pride to get what you want for you.
Most people are so worried what people think of them, they develop a camouflage of niceness; so much so that it’s virtually impossible to see their pride. Niceness is the hardest nut to crack open because in their own mind their pride is zero or negligible. When you do everything right and don’t know that you are doing it to gain position in other people’s eyes; that’s insanity. The prodigal’s older brother in Luke 15:28,29, and the Pharisee in Luke 18:9 lost their salvation because of their rightness. They were blind to their pride and the real motive of their good deeds.
Q. What is pride?
Pride is ME. Pride is when you either consciously or unconsciously choose a mood over giving up your position. People believe we are all born good and learn bad, but the Word of God says the opposite (Psalm 51:5, Romans 7:18, Romans 3:23, Matthew 7:11. We are born bad; we can never be wholly good, and thus we need the salvation of Christ won for mankind by the shedding of his sinless blood on the cross. The Bible says that only God is good (Matthew 19:17). Check out any child; they don’t have to learn bad; it’s inherent in their sub-conscious conscience. A Christian’s walk is not a party or a crutch, it’s a fight against satanic forces that are always trying to destroy my chances to be saved, by constantly activating my unseen pride.
Pride is not just putting yourself up, it’s also putting yourself down; it’s all about ME. It’s like a vine that doesn’t want to be pruned; that wants to be its own husbandman and grow in whatever direction it suits its own desires. Pride is a loose canon; no one’s going to tell it what to do. It’s measured by having a mood when you don’t get what you want, it’s measured by disrespect of authority, and it’s measured by demanding and living for what I want. Pride manipulates people to give us what we want. Pride lives for the value of what people think of me. Pride is a hard heart. Humility is choice of spirit to soften your heart.
Pride demands it’s responsible to figure it out for myself. Humility already knows that; it doesn’t have to demand it. Pride won’t give up the right to its own mind; the right to think for itself. Humility already knows it has the right to think for itself; it doesn’t demand it as a right. Pride believes it has the right to question and analyse others’ opinions and make up its own mind. Humility already knows it’s free to analyse others’ opinions; it doesn’t expect or demand it as a right. Pride doesn’t like being told what to do; Humility softens itself to be told. Pride only listens to people it respects with its own mind; Humility knows that God uses both righteous and unrighteous authority and listens to all opinions as it searches for God’s higher plan. God used the Pharisees and Pilate to kill His Son and save mankind. Jesus had to fight the pride of His own thinking against this injustice, and humble His mind to God’s thinking.
“The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, & the Lord knows the thoughts of the wise that they are vain.” 1 Corinthians 3:19,20. God’s not talking about educated knowledge, He’s talking about your thinking. He’s talking about how you analyse with your mind.
Our conscience is our spirit. Our spirit lives inside our body. A true Christian has totally submitted his spirit to the Spirit of Christ. This is the only way you can gain the mind of Christ; otherwise your mind is under the control of your spirit and your spirit is born with sub-conscious inherent pride, and ultimately only primarily interested in self-protective and self-defensive selfishness. You can’t face your pride until it’s brought to your conscious level of conscience. The sub-conscious doesn’t know it has a pride issue.
A lot of people try to analyse the reason why they feel irritated instead of just owning their irritation as their pride mood and repenting. Pride likes to figure it out so it doesn’t do it again so it can feel it has won over itself and can boast to itself and others. Pride believes that if it is capable it should never fall to the same weakness of character again. Pride is striving to never fall so I feel capable and superior. Humility doesn’t even bother. Humility knows it can’t stop its pride; it constantly smothers it under the blood of Christ through repentance. Pride is always about POSITION. Pride analyses with your head under the control of your contaminated spirit. Humility analyses from the Spirit of Christ through Christ’s mind. The fight of faith is this constant battle against our own self-pride that rages in us and against us when we try and serve Christ; and victory is only won when we submit to His will.
Q. How can you escape your pride and get the mind of Christ?
The Word says in Romans 8:7, the carnal mind is against the mind of Christ, but you don’t know that. You think your mind is in line with Christ’s. If you want to, you can see by your reactions to people, that your mind is not subject to the mind of Christ. If you have a mood when someone offends you and all you can see is their rudeness, and you can’t see that this is pride, then you’re out of your mind. You need the mind of Christ. Most people have no idea that they are proud. God uses authority, both righteous and unrighteous, to tell you that you are proud. If you have a mood when an authority corrects you or rejects your point-of-view, or if you defy or disrespect the authority’s opinion, then you confirm your pride. It’s actually disrespecting God, Himself, because His 5th commandment says to honour authority, and when your pride decides it won’t because your mind determines that it will not do what someone tells it to do, then you expose that your mind is out of it’s mind.
In 2 Samuel 11, David had murdered Uriah and committed adultery with Uriah’s wife. He had wiped the injustice from his conscious conscience. He didn’t even know he was in sin. He had lost his right mind. He was in danger of losing his salvation because murderers and adulterers are exempt from heaven. God sent Nathan, the prophet, to correct him. He listened to the authority, saw his sin, owned it and repented and restored his mind to the mind of Christ. It’s not what you do; it’s what you submit to.
Satan uses our fear and embarrassment to stop us bringing our pride to our conscious level so we stay blind to ourselves and bound to him, even as Christians.
Nebuchadnezzar fed his pride with position. God permitted him to lose his mind. It took seven years, but eventually he lowered his position and regained his right mind. The prodigal son had to go through the same steps. He had no idea that he was moody and proud. He came to his right mind when he lost everything he held as value. He returned and submitted to the authority that he had abused and disrespected. He came to his right mind.
If you want the mind of Christ, you have to give up your own mind, and you can’t achieve that without being offended and put-down. He uses the evil in others to refine the evil in those who truly seek to serve Him. Neither can you come to your right mind and see your sin if you consider your opinion superior to the opinion of authority. How can you have a right mind and disrespect authority at the same time? It’s a contradiction! If you ask the Lord to show you your pride, He will, but you have to want the will of the Lord over your own will. When you hold back your self-defence and instead of demanding your rights, you look to God’s higher plan in the situation, God will give you progressive victory over your pride. His higher plan is to use evil to free you from you. It doesn’t make sense to the human mind; it’s a higher plan for your spirit. Without God’s higher plan, you’d swell up with pride; the put-down is God’s blessing to save you from your pride. When you stand against yourself, God will open your eyes to yourself. Just like Christian in Pilgrim’s progress, until you see yourself, you’re not saved, because that’s what Jesus came to save you from, yourself. In Matthew 23:26, Jesus said, first remove the debris from the inside of the cup, before you clean the outside. Everyone does it around the other way, because their pride must look good in the eyes of others. They don’t even know that that is what they are doing; they are not in their right mind.
When God allows you to be offended, He is lovingly giving you the opportunity to see your hidden self by you checking your reactions. If you miss it, hopefully God will send an authority to challenge you, and that will be the intersection of fresh sight our continued blindness. The rich young ruler missed it. You can’t see through the eyes of pride.
The mind of me sees and feels people’s hurtful comments at my conscious level but is blinded to my inherent pride at my sub-conscious level. The mind of Christ looks past my hurt feelings to trust and rest in God’s higher plan. This higher plan helps the put-down person get free if they will give up to the will of God over the will of their own mind.
1. If all things work for good to them that love God and are the called for His purpose (Romans 8:28), then you can trust God with full confidence in His greater plan. Fight your plan by looking for God’s higher plan. Jesus faced the same issue of pride versus humility in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was tormented in His mind until He surrendered to the mind of His Father. Once He surrendered He could see that God’s higher plan was best for mankind even though it didn’t necessarily make sense to His own mind.
2. Never call anyone stupid except by the mind of Christ, otherwise you judge yourself with the mind of yourself, and the mind of yourself is blind to your proud self. Obviously, if you call someone stupid, you’ve positioned yourself above them. That opposes God’s will and thus you judge yourself as the stupid one.
3. Respect authority. If you can’t be told, you’ll never find the mind of Christ. You’ll reason everything with your own mind.
4. Never give yourself licence to have a mood.
May God reveal His mind to you,
Dr. David Cousins B.E., B.Sc,(hons), D.C.