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Morally Superior? Really? Brant Hansen

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
April 12, 2023 5:15 am

Morally Superior? Really? Brant Hansen

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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April 12, 2023 5:15 am

92% of us think we're morally superior to others. Author Brant Hansen explores how extensively we whitewash our motivations—to our profound destruction.

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We're so convinced.

We're just right about everything. For Jesus, it comes down to us going, would you quit being so self-righteous? You get your righteousness from me. Your rightness with God comes from me and not you. You're prone to fooling yourself all the time. So rethink, repent, humble yourself. And that's what he's looking for. And we're always like, good person, bad person.

He's like, no, humble or proud. And if you're humble, I favor you. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson. And I'm Dave Wilson. And you can find us at or on the Family Life app.

This is Family Life Today. So I got to tell that golfing story. I'm in this charity golf outing. I end up paired with these two couples, I don't know.

It's for a ministry. It's a great outing. But at some point, like halfway through the round, one of the wives comes up to me. She's in this other cart. We hadn't really even talked. And she goes, hey, so I hear you're a marriage expert. I go, what? No, I'm not a marriage expert. Oh, you write books on marriage. You co-host a show on marriage, right? I go, well, yeah, but well, I got a marriage question for you. Okay, we're on a putting grade, right? And she goes, I'm in my second marriage.

What's the problem with marriage? That's her question. And I have like 15 seconds. And I'll never forget. I look back at her and I go, oh, I can answer that in one word.

I could not have scripted this. This was classic. And she goes, really?

What's that word? I go, selfishness. And she looks at me and she goes, you are so right. My first husband was so selfish.

I mean, you could not script a better answer. And I'll never forget. I looked at her and I said, I'm not talking about your first husband. I'm talking about you. And I'm talking about me. And I remember later she said something like, I don't think I've ever heard a pastor say he's selfish. But I thought it so resonates with what we all think. My first husband, that guy over there, it's never us. It's always someone else. And she made the point, you know? So we've been talking for the last couple of days with Brant Hansen about sort of selfishness.

The truth about us is we're self-righteous. So Brant, you're back for one more. I love it.

Maybe two more, maybe three more. We love talking to you. So Brant, you're on the radio every day. You write, man, we love your books.

Unoffendable. If you haven't seen that one, get that and the small group video series. This book we're talking about today, The Truth About Us, The Men We Need. By the way, you got more books you're thinking about? I'm on deadline.

I have one due in a week. Oh. And I've got a little ways to go on it. I'll be honest with you. So. You're like, can we get this interview over?

It might just be qwerty, qwerty, qwerty, like just typing at the last several pages of this book when it comes out. But yeah, so I'm writing a book about joy and anxiety and stuff. Who wants to read about joy? Nobody wants joy.

I mean, that's such a needed deal, especially in this day and age. Exactly. So I resonate with Dallas Willard's definition of it.

He said, joy is a pervasive sense of peace, regardless of circumstances, a pervasive sense of well-being, regardless of circumstances. So it's not like you can be like, well, but this is happening. I don't know.

It's still there. Regardless. Yeah, regardless. Even if you're grieving, even if you've gone through something, there's still this sense of well-being that exists. And very few people have this in our culture, as you know, which is why they're so anxious.

They're so anxious because there's not that sense of well-being that you can have no matter what. So to me, that changes everything. And Jesus gives it to us as a gift, but it's like any other gift.

I think people take it back. Like, I'd rather watch the news. Oh, it's that verse from James. Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials. The first time I read that, I think I was maybe 18. Like, what? Yeah.

How is that possible? Hey, we can talk about joy when the book comes out. We'll bring you back. But I mean, as you go back to the truth about us, you know, the very good news about how very bad we are. Obviously, that story I opened up with of the selfishness that we don't see in ourselves, but we see in everybody else. How would you say that truth about us destroys relationships? Well, just to review something we talked about a couple days ago, but that's that humans all think we all think we're better than average morally. They've done these surveys. It's hilarious. It's revealing. We are so deluded.

It's like 92% or something. I can't remember exactly say we're better than average morally. Everybody thinks they're a good person. Okay.

So that's where we're coming up. We all justify no matter what we want, no matter what we've done, we are able to do gymnastics. We are self-righteous machines.

So we're justifying magicians. It doesn't matter how bad that thing was that I did. I will find a reason why it was a good thing. I know my motives are good.

I know your motives are bad. Like, you know nothing. Like even the good stuff that you can do, you could spin it like being the lion's chaplain. Is that a good thing? Well, here's the thing.

People will think, oh, there's a man of God because he's lions, but you're a mixed bag. You also love being involved with football. It probably makes you feel significant too. Like there's things that I do. Well, it's true. But there's also good motivations in there too. It's always a mixed bag, isn't it? Oh yeah. And you even think, I mean, there's been times in my life where like, I know I have good motivations, but then something happens. You're like, what? I thought I knew about myself.

I don't know. I remember at our church as it grew, we had multiple campuses. And so there'd be weekends where I would write the message that guys would give at other campuses because they're preaching it live. And I remember, okay, I'm writing this message and it's always, hey, make this yours, shape it any way you want, but here's my notes.

Use them if they fit you, if not. And I remember, you know, thinking, I don't care what happens at the other campuses. I hope it goes well. And they praise the guy who gave the message. I remember one time this weekend, I was in a grocery store and this lady came up and says, hey man, I was at, it wasn't where I preach, it was at another campus. And she goes, Steve gave the message. It was incredible, man. The point he made, and she literally lists the point I wrote. Your point, yeah. And she goes, I can't believe he came up with that. That was just awesome. You're like, no.

And Brent, I'm dying inside. I'm like, that's my point. He didn't even think of that point.

That's my point. But what did I say? Yeah, that's great. I got in the car, I was mad. I was like, he should have gave me credit.

I'm like, look at my card. Look how, who cares who wrote it? It wasn't me anyway.

It was God's word, all I did. But I thought, wow, look at what's in me. It's this pride. Right. And so it's simplistic to think you can just look at somebody's, what they've done.

Oh, there's a great person. Like you don't know. Leave it up to God. I don't even say that about somebody. Like there's a great woman of God. I don't know. I mean, she might be good on stage.

I don't know. So I come from a pastor's family and I heard that about my dad all the time. He's talented. He's a good speaker. What a great man of God.

Our home life was a traumatic disaster. I mean, by the time they got divorced the first time, I was glad. Like I wanted out of this, but I'm constantly hearing while we're being terrorized in the home about how great this guy, you don't know. That's why I think for me, when I'm talking on the air or whatever, like I can tell that you really are like, you're meaning what you say. Like, I hope I am, but I think that's a reaction to that too. Like I don't want to hear myself say stuff that isn't true, but I'm also not impressed. Even if somebody is super talented with a guitar or with a speaking or with a, you know, a worship, whatever, like, okay, but we're all on one level. We don't know other people's motives. I don't even know my own.

I do know I'm a mixed bag. I like it. Like you're saying, you probably did want people to be touched by that story, but there's a little bit of it.

It's like, yeah, but I came up with that. That's very normal and human. It's wonderful to just let God sort it out in the end. I remember being in seminary and the professor who was actually the president, I remember talking about this one man of God and I said, this guy is the real deal. He's amazing. And I said, if I have anybody on a pedestal, it's him. And he said, Ann, Ann, Ann, there's only one person to be on the pedestal is Jesus. Nobody else belongs in that spot because we're all human. We're all broken.

So just take that guy off. Just know he's a frail human being who needs Jesus like everyone else. And I thought, oh, that's really good. I need to remember that. Okay. So instead of me thinking I need to take everybody's spiritual temperature, let me be humble. I can't, I don't know where this person stands, that person says, but I know this, they need Jesus.

I need more of them in my life. You do. And I can just engage the world that way, right? You're making it no fun because nobody can judge each other now for you.

It's so good. I know you're joking too. It's funny. But conversely, the weird thing is it does make life more fun to not have to worry about all this stuff or to sort through my own stuff.

No, no, no. I'll let God sort it out. God just helped me get through today and to be faithful with what you put in my path today. And to love those you put in my path today.

The people today. And as far as tomorrow goes, that's your business. That's not my business. You'll work it out. I asked God just to wit on this.

It's about trying to be humble about things, not have to know stuff, plan stuff, promote stuff. I mentioned I was on Good Morning America recently. Hey, you've mentioned that twice. You think you're pretty good, don't you? I wanted to tell you how that came about because it's so weird that I would be. It's so weird. And I was walking the dog and I was asking God like, oh, I got this book thing. I hate promoting stuff.

I hate it, hate it, hate it. I don't want to have to be tweeting and Instagramming because I was like, you should buy this. Because your publishers are wanting you to do that. They do. They put pressure on you.

That's their job too. But it's like, I'm just sick of it. I don't want to do it. But I said, Lord, would you please be my publicist as long as I'm doing it and your kingdom is made bigger? Can we partner together? You partner with Abraham. You're always looking for people to partner with your kingdom. I know I'm flawed like everybody else. But if it's pleasing to you, can you just make something happen that I could never see happening?

Next week, the publisher is shocked. Good Morning America said they are interested in having you come on. And I got to talk about Jesus stuff. I mean, I'm sitting there in the lights at Times Square or whatever going, that is unbelievable. Maybe that's the only time that ever happens. That's fine. But I was like, I know why that happened.

It's just kind of cool. There's something about just going today, you handle this. I'm going to handle it. I'll do stuff today rather than thinking that I'm in charge of assessing where everybody is all the time and then evaluating this and making this happen.

Like, no, just today. That's beautiful. That's so good. And it's talking about, we're talking about being humble. You said in your book, according to Jesus, there are no good people, only humble people and proud people.

And he favors the humble and opposes the proud. And then you get into this story of Adolf Eichmann, who is a high ranking Nazi who was taken from South America to Israel for trial in 1960. Do you remember this story? Yeah, the freaky thing about it and some was when people finally saw this horrible Nazi, it was bracing to one of his victims and a journalist had gone there to cover it because they're like, he just looks like a human being. Like this horrific human being they're thinking. But it's just a human. Like you can be neighbors. Not a monster. Yeah.

Yeah. Like it's very unsettling when you realize that humans, what we're capable of in the right or wrong conditions. So we can get very proud of ourselves, but it may be that it pays off for us to be good people in this culture. But if it didn't, might we act differently? What are we capable of doing and justifying?

Well, we've seen entire countries justify horrible oral things because humans are quite capable of that. So that was one of the upshots of that story. It also occurred to me too, because you had said, not to compare you with Adolf Eichmann, but you had said, you become a different person when you're behind the wheel. It was joking, but it's like you do.

I'm sure a lot of us do. We do become a different person because in the wrong circumstances we will change our behavior quickly. Most of the time that's just when we're in a hurry. If you have all kinds of time and you're not hurried. That is true.

Yes. I'm not really that concerned about how bad people are driving around me. No, you can be thoughtful about it.

But driving puts a great point on it. There's a study, I did put this in the book, it's a famous study of theology students, but they had actually contrived this situation where they were going to have them each give a speech on the Good Samaritan story. It was in another building and they released them at certain times to go do this.

But they released some late, a bunch of them. They had like a control group, all this. But anyway, as they're walking to the other building to deliver this individual speech to a class about the Good Samaritan story, each one of them, they actually had someone on the ground like writhing, like in obvious need. I've heard this.

This is crazy. Yeah. So people would go past them or help. Now they found that the people who helped and the people who went past them, it was the only difference that made any difference. Wasn't their religious background, wasn't their convictions about anything, wasn't their sophistication. It was whether or not they were late or not.

Come on. So the people who had time stop. And the people, they might be solid, learned Christian people, but they're 10 minutes late.

They're different people, man. If you're in a hurry, if you don't have margin in your life, you're irritable. You'll go off on people, you're aggravated, but you're the one that scheduled all that stuff. And you decided you were going to do all this and then all of life is like grinding like, well, okay, you're a different person when this happens. Oh, this is so convicting.

Well, no, it's good. You leave a half hour earlier, you plan your day differently. You can actually segment your day to make it easier for you to be a better person. And sometimes you have to slow your soul down because even the other night when I was in a hurry to get home, Ann said to me, what's the hurry?

There was no deadline. There was no reason I had to rush. I'm just used to it. It's almost like I've gotten in a pattern of, and it's like, slow your soul down, take a breath. That's why learning the humility, like taking a Sabbath day, because that's teaching you the world does not rise or fall. And I've only recently started really doing it, but it teaches you the world does not rise or fall based on my productivity. I can be unproductive and I'm still valuable. That's a really hard thing for us in America to get our heads around, but that teaches you to start having more margin in your daily life.

And this is something that God set up because he knows we'll thrive that way to have some more margin, but we're so used to it. I have to be productive. I got to get this next thing done. Such the American way. Yeah. We can be very productive and also miserable. Well, Brandy, how do we...

Wait, wait. I've noticed in my soul too, that... I can tell you all about yourself.

What do you want to know? I can tell the way I respond to people. I can kind of know the condition of my soul because when my soul is rested, when I've been with Jesus, when I have a little margin, I've carved that out. I see people like I'm conscious of loving them and speaking to them and seeing them and then being able to love them and kind of even asking God, how can I bless them or love them today? When I'm grinding it out and I'm stressed, I know like I don't have time.

I don't have time to see them. It's exactly that. It's a good way to think like, where's my soul?

What's the condition of my heart right now? Right. So the conditions around us influence whether we're a good person or not, quote unquote, which is humbling too.

One of the things that's striking to me when I'm talking to people about this too is it's very difficult for us to finally say, you know what? My value as a human being is not dependent on this stuff I'm doing. And to wit, like we were talking about people that we can be impressed by. Wow, this guy's really great. He was an incredible football player. He was an incredible baseball player.

He's a great singer. Yeah, but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, gentleness. We go down the list.

It's not sold this many albums, built a church this big. Like that's not actually fruit. And we're like, well, look at the fruit.

No, no, no, no. The fruit. Let me talk to his wife.

Let me talk to her husband. Let me talk to love, joy, peace. Are we seeing kindness? Yes. Kindness, goodness, gentleness. Are we seeing this more of that? Because the other stuff you can do on your own, including build an impressive ministry.

Yes. When you just said that, I thought one of the most beautiful things is when somebody comes up to you and I'm sure this happens to you, Brant, and it happened to me as a pastor, a stranger or somebody in my congregation would come up and say, man, that was amazing. That message. You're an amazing guy. You know what you think is like, you don't know me. Thank you for the compliment. But you just sort of smile. I mean, pro athletes always told me that it's like they come up and they think I'm the most amazing guy and they want this autograph. And I just smile as I walk away going, they have no idea how corrupt I am. But with that in our mind, knowing the truth about us ourselves, which sometimes we don't admit, but other times we're like, I'm not as good as that person thinks I am. We walk in our home and when your wife or your husband says, you're a good man.

And they're sort of talking about fruit. I see faithfulness in you. And then when you look at that, you go, wow, she knows. She knows how bad I am. She knows better than anybody in the world. I'm really a self-deluded guy, but she sees goodness and she's speaking it out. That carries everything. So I just want to say that to say, man, if you're married, you can speak goodness into your bad or bad. It's there. The good and bad are both there. But when you speak it, it carries weight because you could also say, I live with you, dude.

You're corrupt. I can't remember if I told you guys this, but that's one of the sweetest things in my life is what you just said. So coming from my background of extreme performative hypocrisy in a Christian context to being a Christian radio host, speaker, whatever I am, author, I know people could come up and say that stuff. The sweetest thing in the world to me is that my kids will listen to my podcast now and laugh. They're like, that's dad.

There's no creepy disconnect. They could listen to this and there's no creepy disconnect between the dad they know and my wife too. My wife can listen to this and be like, yeah, good job.

Instead of going, oh yeah, Mr. Christian whatever. And then we come here and you're like, oh, what a relief. If it wasn't the integrity, your life matches your... That gives you strength.

Somebody is going to speak that your wife just told you that. I mean, that really, that's the fuel where I can keep going so I don't feel like a big fraud. I don't have to deal with that dissonance. That is a big deal. Again, we all know we're a mixed bag.

They don't have to worry about it. God, please help me partner with you today on whatever plan you have here. And let me be faithful with what you bring across my path. It takes a lot of the pressure off. And then look what he's doing. Like in my career, he's blazing away. I'm doing okay.

He's making a trail in front of me. So, so far so good. Yeah, that would be, you know, as we sort of wrap three days of talking about the truth about us, we've said it. I want to hear you say it anyway, a different way to say it.

How do we change it? Because we didn't even talk about your great Pearl Harbor story. It's such a good one. Just say it real quick, how self-deluded we are. It just illustrates that. But then answer the, okay, if I only see selfishness in my husband and I can't see it in me, I'm so self-deluded.

How do I change? Yeah, well, the story is great because it's a guy who's a brilliant cognitive professor in psychology, but he would tell people where he was. He's like, I remember distinctly where I was when Pearl Harbor happened. And he would tell students that.

And just studying how we know things, our memories. And so he would say, I know I was listening to a baseball game. They cut in and said, you know, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. And someone, he had told that story for years.

And some students said, that's a lie. You're not remembering right. It's like, what do you mean? You weren't listening to a baseball game in December?

It's December 7th. And he had to unwind all this stuff. But I remember it this way. I remember. And so he did a study when the Challenger disaster happened, where you had people write down the next day, students, where were you when you heard this? He followed up 10 years later and said, where were you when you heard about the same students? And the majority of their stories were completely different from what they'd written the day previous about where they were. And they remembered it just like this. And one lady's like, okay, that can't be right. He presented her own handwriting.

She's like, yes, that is my handwriting, but this is not true. Yes, but we're so convinced. We are right about everything. For Jesus, it comes down to us going, would you quit being so self-righteous? You get your righteousness from me. Your rightness with God comes from me, not you. You're prone to fooling yourself all the time. So rethink, repent, humble yourself. That's what I'm asking for. And that's what he's looking for. And we're always like, good person, bad person.

He's like, no, humble or proud. And if you're humble, I favor you. You're going to have me on your side. So I think it's a great place to start. You know what? I can be wrong, wrong, wrong.

God loves me anyway. Hi I'm Shelby Abbott and you've been listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Brant Hansen on Family Life Today. Brant's written a book called The Truth About Us, the very good news about how very bad we are. Well, we believe in this book and we want to give you a copy when you go online and give any amount to Family Life. You can go to or you could give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329.

Now that could be a one-time gift or a recurring monthly gift. Regardless, we're going to send you a copy of Brant's book. And the number is 800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Now tomorrow, Dave and Anne are going to be back with Brant Hansen, but he's going to be joined by his cohost of his radio program, Sherri Lynn. They're going to tell their story about finding each other and the differences between Sherri and Brant and why they connect so well. That's coming up tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-14 03:45:32 / 2023-04-14 03:56:37 / 11

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