The Deadly Sin of Pride

The Deadly Sin of Pride

Pride. We’re not talking about a healthy sense of self-worth or a proper self-esteem. We’re talking about the deadly sin of pride, the kind that is snobbish, patronizing, condescending, rude, impatient, demanding, unkind, cruel, insensitive, pompous, egocentric, haughty, vain, superior, and arrogant.

This is the pride of Lucifer himself, the once-upon-a-time heavenly angel of light who decided that he’d rather play first fiddle in hell than second fiddle in heaven. His carnival mirror was bloated beyond reality and Lucifer thought himself too important to stand in the shadow of the Almighty. So he split.

Deadly Sin of Pride

Pride is so easy to see in others, but so hard to see in self. It is especially easy to see in a junior high daughter. She has life all figured out. She knows more than her stupid parents. They are an embarrassment to her. The world revolves around her. The sun waits for her to get out of bed every morning before it dares to shine. She should not have to wait for her turn in the bathroom. The family meals should be what she likes. Her favorite program trumps all others. The parental taxi should be at her beck and call to whisk her to her essential appointments.

I think you get the picture. Perhaps you’ve known such a creature. She drove me up a wall! And then one day my wife explained to me why this junior highness got to me. “She’s just like you and it bugs you.”

Easy to see in others, hard to see in the mirror. Others are egotistical; we’re self-confident. Others are vain; we’re well dressed. Others are arrogant; we’re just right. Others are demanding; we’re pursuing excellence. Others are snobbish; we’re introverted. Others are conceited; we’re secure.

Pride does a number on the spiritual retina.

Pride pits itself against others. It has to win, one way or the other. Pride is never caught gazing upward because it can’t imagine anything higher. Pride must have the first word, which defines reality, and the last word, which takes credit for the reality. Pride renders us unteachable, unreachable, and unchangeable. Pride is deadly.

And it comes in many forms:

  • It looks like the 70’s Beatles comparing their popularity to that of Jesus.
  • It looks like the Nixon White House thinking the laws do not apply to them.
  • It looks like the professor leaving a faculty meeting more enamored by what he said than what he heard.
  • It looks like a Bible scholar who thinks how he interprets scripture is more important than how scripture interprets him.
  • It looks like an online dating service profile where a woman wanting to meet a man advertises herself as “strikingly gorgeous, possessing a rare balance of beauty and depth.”
  • It looks like athletes raping a co-ed because they, well, because they can.
  • It looks like a preacher who nails everyone to the proverbial wall each Sunday, but never visits his own dark basement.
  • It looks like Carly Simon’s ex-boyfriend to whom she dedicated the song, “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you. Don’t you? Don’t you?”

The old sayings are true.

Pride goes before destruction,

a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 NIV)

 

“God opposes the proud,

but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6 NIV)

Why is God so hard on our deadly sin of pride?

Because we make good creatures, but lousy gods. We are meant to be full of something, but when we are proud, there’s no room for anything but egomania. When we elevate ourselves, we destroy people, places and things. When we refuse to humble ourselves before our Maker, we saw off the branch that holds us up. We unplug our own resuscitator. We tie a knot in the feeding tube that nourishes our life. God loves us too much to ignore our pride.

God can bring us down from our lofty pride perches—if he wishes. It seems though, that God has taken a different approach to our human pride. Rather than powering up on us, God has powered down. Rather than sending a holy watcher with a chain saw, God has come in the flesh. Born of a humble peasant girl he comes to us. He takes up carpentry. He stays poor, washes feet, values the lowly. He sides with the weak, the rejected, and the powerless. He refuses to grasp for the divine equality that theology says is his. God does not pound us from above, but serves us from below. Only when we bow down, does this God lift us up! And when he does, we boast of being graced by such a humble Savior.

The God who could have met us in terrifying nightmares has chosen to meet us in the humble Jesus.

Today’s post is an excerpt from Seven Deadly Sins: The Uncomfortable Truth.


Click here to read all the posts in my blog series, “Seven Deadly Sins.”

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