Serving the community since 1922

Pastor's Corner: Pride goes before destruction

Pride, arrogance and self-conceit are at the root of every sin. Pride is the inflated view of oneself that derives pleasure from the self-perceived greatness of one’s own reputation, status, power, influence, abilities, possessions and achievements. Pride is the foolish puffing up of one’s own ego like a balloon, where every self-exalting action inflates it with more air; and yet everyone knows overinflated balloons must eventually pop (1 Corinthians 4:7-9, 18).

Pride distorts one’s self-image and conceit creates a self-imposed blindness which never sees the sin of pride. These delusions of grandeur are often indulged until the pride bubble bursts. The old English word “vainglory” tells the truth that such personal vanity projects are futile and eventually the arrogant are in for a rude awakening. ”Pride goes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18).

Pride offers the false promise of happiness and satisfaction by self-promotion and self-exaltation, but the prideful often live miserable lives. ”Do you see a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 26:12). When it comes to relationships, pride divides. ”He that is of a proud heart stirs up strife.(28:25a). Self-exaltation drives others away because there can be no rivals to one’s own greatness and selfish interests. Differing viewpoints, alternative ideas, and suggestions or criticisms are viewed as threats to inflated egos. Small disagreements devolve into arguments and divisions. How many relationships can you think of that have been ruined by pride? Ruin and downfall are in the future for every prideful person as humiliation is the consequence and correction for pride. ”Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud.”[END ITAL] (Proverbs 18:12a; also 11:1a; 29:23a; Luke 14:11).

The antidote to pride is the often-misunderstood virtue of humility. Humility is the Christian virtue where one has a reasonable and lowly estimation of their own abilities, intelligence, importance, and needs. This virtue was presented as a mindset that must be intentionally cultivated to produce the attitude where one views the interests and needs of others as primary and acts in selfless service (Proverbs 11:2b; 18:12b; 29:23b; Philipians 2:3).

Jesus’ teachings and modeling of humility are unmatched, teaching service for all, washing the disciples’ feet, and humbly taking on human nature and enduring death on the cross to pay for fallen humanities’ sins (Mark 10:42-45; Luke 14:7-11; John 13:5-17; Philipians 2:5-11). The apostles wrote: ”Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with one another, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love." (Ephesians 4:2). Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in the proper time.” (1 Peter 5:5b-6; see also Proverbs 3:34; 15:33; 18:12; 22:4; Micah 6:8; Romans 12:16; Colossians 3:2; James 4:6, 10).

The wise Christian learns to put off pride and to put on humility, which is essential for learning, loving others, and service. Let us pray that God helps us to recognize and to root out the sin of pride while cultivating the Christlike mindset of humility.

"Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth." -- Matthew 5:5


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