I met the sin of pride early in my life, even before I went to school, Mom made me a beautiful dress. I don’t remember the details, just the feeling while wearing that dress. The day was Sunday and I proudly wore my new dress to church. A little boy watched me walk by, and commented on how beautiful the dress was. I remember lifting my head, and without a comment, walked by him with disdain. Later I replayed that scene in my mind. A five year old’s arrogance is not a beautiful thing.
When I was 10 years old, the sin of pride pounced upon my heart once more. It was Easter Sunday night, and Mother and I played a piano duet for the Prelude before church began. We had worked very hard on the song. I wore my new Easter shoes that night. I didn’t make one mistake and felt so very proud. As I left the stage, the slick soles of the shoes met the three carpeted-steps. I slipped and fell with a loud splat on the bare floor. I don’t know where or how the verse came. I have never been so humiliated as I was that night as I humbly crept to the front row to sit for the rest of the service, muttering all the time, “Pride goeth before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
After the celebration of my retirement of teaching school for 31 years, someone asked me what I planned to do. Forever I can hear my voice speaking the words that still haunt me….I will do what I want, when I want, how I want. In that moment, I knew that I sinned with that declaration. I saw weeks, months and years of freedom to read what I wanted, learn about writing and follow all the dreams I had. It has been seventeen years, and I am no closer to finding closure in all I wanted to do. Now I wonder, as the end of my life nears, will I finish all the things I wanted to do after retirement before God calls me home?
Where does this feeling of pride come from that we are compelled to follow? Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 God means what He says – literally. I learned the blessing of the 3 letter word,Yes, a humble and willing Yes. I learned that a humble Yes coupled with awareness of needs of others and a willing servant heart in the name of Jesus is a pathway that overflows with Joy.
Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2.
Pride is complicated – and when we choose the fork in the path that reads Pride, we can be assured of additional fellow travellers such as judgement of others, independence, arrogance, covering up of faults and controlling others. Pride is a pathway of shadows and darkness. Pride causes us to put others down – even God.
The path to Humility has difference set of travellers as these two verses from Colossians sets out clearly. “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Colossians 3:12-13
Humility is giving love and grace when undeserved. Humility is about others and pride is all about self. After my Mother died in 1998, I felt rudderless – with no direction. I will forever be grateful to our Minister, Jack, for asking me to give a ride to a young couple to church. It was a lesson I will never forget. When I forget self, I remember others.
How can we avoid pride? We can consider the following questions and find the answers.
- How can I avoid the temptation of prideful living?
- Look for needs of others and fill those needs, forgetting self.
- Where can I begin?
- Treat those who serve you in a place of business with grace.
- What does the Bible teach about the way of treating others?
- “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 37-40
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. I John 2:15-17
See others as Jesus sees them. Love others as Jesus loves them. Follow Jesus who left the splendor of Heaven to be humiliated, spit upon, whipped and crucified. Who was this man? He is the Son of God, the only Son of God. It is only through Him and the shedding of His blood can we be saved. There are those who, through their pride and wish to control what is, are unable to understand the verse, “In the beginning was God…” He was, He is and He will ever be.
If the only Bible I ever read was Psalm 19, I would believe. It is all I need to know: God will ever be. “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.” His majesty and wondrous might is in His Creation of our World.
The 19th Psalm ends with these words… May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Forever my choice is made – The Pathway of Humility and Grace and Dignity and Love.