Proverbs 16: 17-18 says:
Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
Although I love this verse, I think pride is linked to yet another fall...the fall of mankind.
In Adam and Eve's scenario, pride came before AND after a fall.
In some cases, I think that one of our biggest ''marks'' of being sinners is that of pride.
Pride CONSUMES our every day lives.
We take pride in our material possessions---even the ones we don't actually OWN!
We take pride in what we do for a profession and how much money we make doing it.
We take pride in the decisions we made that resulted in 'our' successes and we even get, as the verse says, 'haughty' about what we did right to get there.
We take pride in our actions and how those choices make other people view us...as if other people's opinions are the most important thing to strive for in this life.
We take pride in our families and our children--when our children behave and make us 'look good,' we tend to gloat in what we did to make them that way.
What is it though, really?! When we are reeeeeally being honest with ourselves, God and all those around us...
is it what psychology claims it to be? Is it our lack of self-confidence/self-worth leading us to feel sooooo inferior that we must blow all that we are and all that we have out of realistic proportion to prove something to ourselves and others?
I agree that it absolutely is partly that, yes!
But I don't think it stops there.
I think pride is where we exist as fallen creations. I think we not only know, but FEEL how broken and imperfect we are that we cling to anything we can that may be able to give us definition.
Yesterday morning at church, our pastor spurred this very question...How do we 'define' ourselves?
He didn't mean this in the worldly sense, but instead in what our relationship with Christ is now and what we WANT it to be before the next life.
I spent this past weekend being absolutely and utterly surrounded by the result of pride...
not just pride of my own but also many of those in my life.
I started the weekend on my own proud note when I found out how little time I was going to get with my husband after a long work-week without him. :P Of course, my response--being that of pride---was to sulk, mope, sigh (loudly), grunt and throw a 10-yr-old's tantrum about the whole scenario.
Leave it to my patient, albeit imperfect, but wife-experienced hubby to sit quiet and compliant, tediously working on his pile of tax-papers for two straight days while I made clear through my pride-damaged actions how I felt.
By the time I put my own pride into major 'check,' Saturday continued on the note of others around me being driven by pride and even, unknowingly, using it hurtfully.
That's the thing with pride...it's SNEAKY.
It rears it's ugly, monstrous head, using you as it's puppet all while muttering excuses and justifications for itself.
Sunday ended on the note of hearing of damaged-relationships and relationships, consciously, UNTENDED TO because of...yep, you guessed it...
I can't say exactly what 'causes' our pride or how it manages to be soooo clever (though I do very much believe that it is one of the devil's greatest tools and maybe why it comes in such a cunning disguise)...
but I can say these things about it:
and it's, perhaps, one of the most powerful diseases of our fallen-selves.
So, is that it? Is that all? Do we just lay down, defeated by our own selves...using our 'sin' as the excuse?
I'm SURE that Satan would be doing a big ol' happy-dance if we did.......
and that is surely why that isn't the answer.
As I get older (and I'd like to HUMBLY think, a little bit wiser, too), I am confirmed of my pride's very best friend which is, unfortunately, ALSO part of my body...
Pride hurts us in our relationship with Christ, there is no doubt about that.
It keeps us at a distance in all sorts of ways and must be stripped away by HIS Blood.
But it is true that one of the most cutting ways that our pride seems to hurt other's is through our words.
Sure, our thoughts are filled with pride (if we're being honest)...
but it's when our proudest thoughts take a spoken-form that we really become an assassin of hearts.
Even in the form of simple advice, pride can rear it's ugly head.
The bibles says many things about the tongue and the mouth.
Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell...
Want more examples?
Go here: http://www.openbible.info/topics/taming_your_tongue
This week, on a fresh Monday-start, I challenge you, while I challenge myself.......Seek Him.
Seek his example and Seek Life. Use your tongue in Wisdom, even if it makes you feel or look foolish.
HOLD your tongue in things that are destructive.
ASK YOURSELF...am I saying this and doing this out of my own pride or out of Christ's abounding Love?
Humble your thoughts, humble your prayers, humble your words and actions...ask God to overcome you with His humbleness and cover your deep sin with His Son's precious blood.
Be proud in and through NOTHING, remembering that ALL that you are and ALL that you have is from and through His Grace, alone!!!