Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Sickness Within - Pride

When I was a little girl I saw an Alfred Hitchcock episode about a couple who believed they were so attractive that mirrors covered every inch of their walls, enabling them to enjoy their own beautiful reflections every minute of the day. They couldn't see anyone but themselves, no one else existed. And of course, they haunted the home after their death by still appearing in the mirrors, admiring their images forever. I was scared of mirrors for years!

Pride is like that. It looks in a mirror and admires only itself. No one else can be seen.

Paul, in Romans 12:3 cautions his readers to "not to think of himself more highly than he ought." Pride is that exaggerated opinion of one's importance that Paul is speaking of. Scripture tells us that God "opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6) Our pride can truly put us in a prison of our own making, keeping us from experiencing God's grace and favor.

Humility, on the other hand, is having a modest opinion of one's worth; it is acknowledging that I need God. Pride keeps us from admitting our need for God. If I believe that I alone am responsible for the good things in my life...I earned them, I deserve them, I am entitled to them, I made them.....then what do I need God for?

C.S. Lewis, the great Christian philosopher said, "A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you're looking down, you can't see something that's above you." Pride keeps me from acknowledging that God is God and I am not.

Pride is haughty. It says, "I am better than other people. I deserve more. Because of my intellect, my beauty, my education, my success, I stand above others." Humility says everything I have is from God, including my smarts, my looks, my abilities and talents. They are His gifts, not my accomplishments.

Pride is a prison, preventing me from meaningful and deep relationships. It keeps me from admitting that I truly need other people. It prevents me from apologizing. Pride is not tender or sweet. It is a wall of mirrors that prevents me from seeing another's viewpoint. Pride can never admit it is wrong. Maybe that's why Paul says, "love is not proud." (1 Corinthians 13:4)

Humility listens and hears. It is gentle and kind. It sees another's point of view. It compromises and sacrifices. It opens doors to heal old hurtful relationships and it always looking for an opportunityunity to bless.

Pride and its twin, arrogance, easily excuse wrong. No one can tell pride what to do. And pride feels entitled. It excuses sin, by saying, "I deserve this."

Humility submits to God, knowing that our behavior, as well as our attitudes, reflect the God we love. It's not all about me. There is a bigger picture.

And even if we do acknowledge our need for God in some way, pride masks our faults and keeps us from letting the Holy Spirit show us those areas that He wants to alter with His gentle prodding.

Humility says, "Show me the error of my ways. Reveal those things that don't please God. Mold me into your image."

As we reflect on Pastor Scott's sermon, let's remember that God is always willing to guide and teach, to correct and help....if we will admit we really need Him.

Pride is the mask of one's own faults.

A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you're looking down, you can't see something that's above you. C. S. Lewis a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.

True humility is a matter of knowing that we need God's forgiving grace in our lives.

Romans 12:3 (Amplified Bible)3For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.

Psalm 25:9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way

Kay Stringham - Mid Week Minder Team

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