That Stubborn Pride
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
|He gave His life as a ransom for many
(Proverbs 16: 18)
Are you a proud person? To be proud of one’s accomplishments and hard work is natural and it is good. It is a great feeling to have worked really hard, putting your heart and soul into a project, and then be able to look back and see a job well done. It builds confidence and self esteem. But at what point does pride become destructive?
Jesus Himself was a very humble man. He says of Himself in Matthew 11: 29; Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. The prophet Isaiah also, as he prophesies the coming Savior states; He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2)
Jesus intention was never to stand out in a crowd. He repeatedly told people whom He had helped not to tell anyone. He did not want people to be attracted to Him because of the miracles He did. That was not His purpose. He says in Matthew 20: 28; the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. His purpose was to free us from the chains of sin, and to save us from eternal death. He lived a perfect life for us and took the responsibility for our sins on Himself. He paid the debt we owe to God for our sins by suffering and dying on the cross, and He conquered death for us by rising from the dead three days later.
Recently I experienced hurt feelings at a Christian gathering. We were having a fellowship meal and as I went to sit down, I was told by the woman sitting across from me that the seat I had picked was already taken. I was a little surprised and yes, I felt more than a little offended also. I immediately got up and moved to another seat.
The purpose of this fellowship meal was to welcome new members to the organization. My husband and I were new members. Is this how new members should be welcomed? To make matters worse, when the new members were introduced our names were not mentioned. Were we invisible? Needless to say, by the end of the meal I was ready to leave. I was angry and I was hurt and my husband was experiencing the same feelings I was.
Several days later through my daily devotional reading, God made me realize that my negative feelings were not “Christ Like”. I would like to quote to you the words of the author. He states as follows; Here’s a test to see how proud you are. How easily do you feel humiliated? Feelings of humiliation come quickly and easily if you are proud, but not if you are humble. A proud person says how dare you say that to me! A humble person thinks nothing of it.
Did our reaction to this situation denote pride in us – the kind of pride that is a sin? Before reading the devotion mentioned above, I would have definitely answered “No” to that question. I didn’t feel like I was being proud and haughty. I felt hurt. I felt not welcome. I felt like I was not important and yes I felt humiliated.
Now I have to admit that although we were the ones wronged in the situation, our reaction to it was wrong also. Our pride got in the way of our graciousness. What would Jesus have done in the same situation? My heart tells me that he wouldn’t have been offended. He would not have become angry. He would have politely moved to a new seat and let it go. He would have without a second thought, forgiven this woman. The apostle Paul in his letter to the Colossians tells us; Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another, Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
I can’t even count the times I have offended Jesus in my lifetime by not acknowledging that I know Him. I have listened quietly as His name was used inappropriately. I have sinned against Him in countless ways. I have done things in my life that I am truly ashamed of and would not like anyone to know about. I have turned my back on Him in countless situations – But He still loves me! I don’t know how He can love a sinner like me, but He tells me in His Word that He does and I believe His promises.
Am I too proud for my own good? You bet I am! Jesus gives us these words of advice in Luke 14 beginning with verse 8; When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited…Then, humiliated you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes he will say to you; Friend, move up to a better place. Then you will be honored…For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Yes, I am definitely guilty of being stubbornly proud at times. My pride has led to sin on many occasions in my life, but there is good pride also – the kind of pride which says that I am proud to know Jesus. I am proud to bear His name. I am proud to have been baptized into His family. I am proud to call Him my brother. I am comforted to know that He loves me in spite of the many times I have sinned against Him.
Forgive my stubborn pride. When someone sins against me, bring to mind the many times I have sinned against you and have been forgiven by you. Help me to forgive others in the same way. Help me to learn humility from your humility. Make me a humble servant of your Word. Help me to be more like You – who came to serve rather than to be served. Amen
In His holy name – Gloria Dei!