The Dark Side

When your good spiritual gifts go bad

A few years ago, my husband and I took part in a Discovery Workshop at our church to discover our spiritual gifts. That I turned out to be a "giver" was no surprise.

I love to give. I'm quick with the checkbook, I get excited when giving opportunities arise, and I've even said that when I die, I don't want to leave any money to my children. If I haven't given it all away, I envision the Caryn Rivadeneira Foundation as a means to distribute the rest.

"Wow," my husband said after I spouted off my "me-fest" on our drive home from the workshop. "You're sure proud to be a giver. Didn't realize spiritual gifts were meant to show how great you are."

Him and his fancy gift of discernment.

I'm always amazed by how easily we can take these wonderful gifts of the Spirit—meant to build up others and glorify God—and head straight for the dark pit of "all about me." It doesn't take much for pride, jealousy, and plain old laziness to get in the way of us using our gifts as God intended.

Not convinced?

Pride Goes …

Clearly, the pride thing was the root of my issue—and it took only a car-ride home to fire it up. And although I've never had the funds to land me any sort of public admiration (no buildings bear my name or anything), for many people this isn't the case. People with gifts like leadership, teaching, or even creative ability receive a lot of accolades too. Mostly because these gifts tend to put people "out there," we find ourselves admiring the people who have those characteristics—especially when it's ourselves—not the God who gave them.

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May 25

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