By Chris Green
In this article, I am going to express my feelings from the male view point about negative pride. Unfortunately, society influences us men to desire and uphold this spiritual poison. Many men, myself included, have to learn the hard way that surrendering is not a sign of weakness, but a measure of strength that can turn everything around. Surrendering requires choice and commitment to change. Women play a huge role in helping men to surrender, change and make a fresh start…but not in the way you think. But first, let’s discuss what I mean by “negative pride”.
Majority of us men rely heavily on one emotion: pride. Pride can be considered either a good thing, or a bad thing. It could be a good thing in regard to remaining honest, full of integrity, and devoted to remaining obedient to GOD’s word. However, pride can also be a bad thing when it causes that man’s focus to be on himself, and not on GOD and caring for others. Negative pride really choked me for years. I recall always being focused on myself, and not on how I was treating others around me. It was all about me. I was determined to achieve and excell in everything, but on the path to wanting to be perfect, I badly neglected the things which were most important: love for GOD and caring for others. In the mist of my emotional sinking ship, I fell from grace…and crashed.
My recovery from these spiritual and emotional falls, included getting kick-started from a positive supporting system in a way you may not expect. My support system actually began with being told my excuses were no longer going to be tolerated. Sometimes, this message was sent to me in the form of people leaving my life. At first, the sting of being alone was painful, but I finally realized it was the best thing that I needed at the time. By being alone and having my pride wounded, it forced me to look in the mirror and ask myself what do I really want in my life? Many men try to fight this moment, but fighting it makes it worse. It’s when I finally chose to stop fighting is when things became better.
Have you ever been to an AA or NA meeting? You will notice many men confessing away selfishness and pride. You will also notice their support system. They are not just there to clap in victory for them, they are also there to hold thim accountable for mistakes. Life for any man needs to have the same spiritual format. This is where spiritual women can make a difference in men who fall from grace.
So how do spiritual women help men recover from falling off? In my experience personally and professionally working with men and women, I found three potent suggestions to work.
1. Help him surrender by saying “no more excuses”.
Accountability is a must. The more a woman enables a man, the more he will continue to make excuses for his wrong behavior, even after he falls off the bridge. Women assist in helping a man surrender when he sees that she will not put up with any more excuses. Nathan became fed up with King David’s selfishness and held him accountable for it. Many people have told me, “He doesn’t care and won’t change”. That leads to my second suggestion. The one many women have the most difficulty doing:
2. Don’t be afraid to leave.
A woman may not want to do this, due to caring about a man, but you are reading this from a man who needed it himself. Having the confidence to leave him, can and may spark him to finally choose to surrender. Some people have to crash, and feel the sting of being alone. Being alone is actually a strength in the time of adversity, if a man chooses to embrace it. Elijah spoke about the sting of feeling alone many times in 1 Kings. However, once he listened to GOD, Elijah realized that he was never isolated. This spiritual renewal only came when Elijah was alone, and chose GOD. I have listened to plenty of men who had their wives or girlfriends leave them and told me it was a reality check that they needed. hey told me that it sparks them into action to promise change if only she takes him back. I am quick to tell many clients to leave her alone during their time of adversity. After a fall us men must be given the chance to surrender. The woman leaving a man is the BEST THING for him in those circumstances. It’s the ultimate signal to him that he needs to surrender. Many men require losing everything in order to realize where his priorities need to be.
I was the worst about denying surrender. I kept my focus on pride. I recall a relationship in my past where she would keep leaving, and I would keep choosing prideful behaviors to get her back. The worst feeling was knowing she would take me back if I was persistent enough. Even though in my heart I was serious about wanting to change(and for a while I would be better after she came back), eventually I would fall right back to old behaviors. It was not until she left for good that I finally chose to surrender back to GOD and I finally started working on becoming a better person. It only started when she finally left for good, and I embraced the sting of being alone.
3. Stopping think it’s your job to change him.
The choice to recover and change after falling off can only come from one person, the man himself. Another worldly illusion a lot of people embrace is this belief that one must help the other change. We don’t help anyone to change- people change themselves. The more a woman thinks her presence and/or involvement can be the cause for a man to change, the more in truth that she becomes an enabler. Best selling Christian author Allison Bottke makes an excellent distinction between being a helper and an enabler:
Helping is doing something for someone that he is not capable of doing himself.
Enabling is doing for someone what he could and should be doing for himself. (Bottke,2008*)
In closing, pride can be the biggest poison to a man. It has the power to help men resist the need to change. This must stop in my view. But the only way this can stop is with the women of GOD being able to hold him accountable for his actions after he falls from grace. Communicate that excuses are no longer an option, not being afraid to leave, and realizing that he can only change himself and if he chooses to and returns to listening to GOD!
MenSpeak Coordinator, B.L.O.G. Magazine
Chris Green is an intensive intervention specialist working with families in crisis. He is also a part time Sociology and Psychology instructor. He is also a free lace counselor who has helped many men and women on spiritual issues. He is currently completing his Christian Counseling certification. In his spare time, he loves watching football, reading, and spending time with his family. His next project for BLOG is a monthly counseling series called “Ask Chris” starting in January, 2014. You can communicate with Chris thru his email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Reference: Bottke, A.G. (2008). Setting Boundaries with your Adult Children: Six steps for hope and healing for struggling parents. Eugene OR: Harvest House Publishers.