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I remember it like it was yesterday. The conversation made such a mark on me, both by stinging my pride and shaping my desire for holiness.

My wife and I were taking a walk, enjoying some nice conversation, and then she lovingly asked me a perceptive question. “Did you ever notice that you are always the hero of your stories?”

It knocked me off of my feet. My wife was saying that I routinely made myself out to be the hero in all of our talking about life, family, and even ministry. She mentioned how rare it was to hear of my own vices; instead, she regularly heard of others’.

As we talked about this in the days to come we realized a few things:

1. Making yourself the hero all the time is like playing dress-up. It is not reality. This is living in a fantasy world. After all, my wife lives with me, she knows what is actually true. No matter how hard I tried, even unwittingly, to pretend and write my own script my home remains a “no-spin-zone.”

2. Ministry is a great mask for pride. You can cloak a prideful self-promotion and an overly critical spirit with discernment and a love for the truth. Regrettably, much (not all) of this is actually neither discerning nor truthful; it is prideful. And ironically, under the guise of discernment, we can show an alarmingly low discernment of our own pride.

3. Jesus can’t be the hero when you are. This is the one that knocked the air out of me. I noticed how I was muting the gospel by playing my own theme song. How does it emphasize grace, mercy, and redemption when I showcase myself in light of the failings or inferiority of others? When I try to look awesome, I’m not doing a good job showing how awesome Jesus is.

4. It is really bad leadership. This type of thinking and living rubs off on people. If I didn’t get to work on this it would begin to shape my wife, kids, friends, and church members. And let’s face it, we can’t all be heroes--that is not a very good script.

5. The only way out is to go down. In other words, in order to make a change on the vine of my life I must go into the roots and see that the bad fruit comes from a root system that is prideful. In order to deal with the behavior, the gospel of Christ must pervade my mind, heart, and actions. It has to really get into my system.

I really believe that God used my loving wife to deliver this gospel blow to my midsection; it had to knock the prideful wind out of me. I am so thankful she was loving and courageous enough to say something. I still hate that guy who pretends to be a hero. But you know what? I still find myself looking for my cape and reading my lines.

Oh, how we need the gospel every single day. Thankfully God does not leave us alone.


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2 thoughts on “Are You Always the Hero of Your Stories?”

  1. doug sayers says:

    “But you know what? I still find myself looking for my cape and reading my lines.”

    Maybe if we had to announce our problem, like the lepers of old, by shouting “self absorbed – self absorbed!” whenever we are out in public it would help us.

    “It is really bad leadership. This type of thinking and living rubs off on people.”

    It does flow downhill… and it is contagious. Churches tend to reflect the traits of their leadership.

    Thanks Erik, appreciate the honesty.

  2. Jeff Higgins says:

    Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
    That saved a wretch like me
    I once was lost, but now am found
    T’was blind but now I see

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Erik Raymond


Erik Raymond is senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Ne. He and his wife Christie have six children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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