Originally posted August 19, 2011, at Faith Formation. Republished with permission of the author.
Second Corinthians 10:12-18 says a lot about our perception of accomplishments and failures. Paul reminds the church about the faithful and appropriate attitude as we reflect on the highs and lows — the moments that soar as well as the lead balloons.
Paul’s words lead me to thoughts about leadership, especially when it is filled with passion. I think of people in their 50s and 60s who are riding on the crest of their gifts and abilities, seeking to offer wisdom and perspective to the future of our nation and our church.
One would like to think that along with the emergence of grey hair and crows feet our petulant child would dissolve. I would love to think that I could walk through the world with an abiding and consistent certainty that all that I do, or think, or offer to others is firmly rooted in Christ.
Still, for most of us, even as our spiritual gifts are emerging and expanding, our ego is posturing itself and competing to influence our understanding of what is going on. Although I can’t always snuff out the ego’s energy as it begins to build, I can recognize it when it is entering the arena.
It is the immature (not much older than an adolescent) self that struts with pride or pouts with disappointment when “I” am either overly confident or brooding with inadequacy or fear of being “wrong.”
Then I return to the center — to Christ. I read Paul’s words again.
Success? Boast of Christ’s power to lead and guide.
Failure? Boast in Christ’s abiding love and mercy and the promise of new life.
Find a link to Pamela Czarnota’s blog Faith Formation at Lutheran Blogs.