Friday, April 04, 2014

Lent: Day Thirty-one ~ Pride

Ezek. 7:10 Behold the day, behold, it is come: the morning is gone forth; the rod hath blossomed, pride hath budded.


Prov.  16: 18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Pride goes before a fall is a paraphrase of an ancient Hebrew proverb, designed to warn man that excessive pride will often cause one to fail. Excessive pride? Oh, I know people like that. I have family members who are so proud of their beautiful richly decorated homes and their fancy garden and pool by the wayside. That would be pride in the excessive. A ‘look what I have and you don’t’ attitude.

Me, I’m just happy in being alive, having a roof over my head, and having food in the refrigerator to fix for my family. I’m not a prideful person and any time it tries to rear its ugly head I have to swat it away like a pesky fly, kill it before it becomes too excessive.

We are not called to be prideful among men. To me, pride is a form of shame also; shame of health issues, shame of poverty issues or shame of living arrangements, all a form of pride. When someone is ashamed to take assistance from someone reaching out to them, pride rears its ugly head and the words that come out are, “No, no, I don’t need any help.”

Man is so prideful that he would rather do without than to take a handout. Even if it is freely offered, man in his shame hides his face proudly stating to themselves that they are too good for charity. This is the fall; they will hunger. Sure they’ll pray for food, a better job, ways to make ends meet but when assistance arrives they are too prideful and miss a rish blessing.

I think the problem is that man tries too hard to acquire something instead of knowing when a blessing arrives; it passes by on the train heading out of town and they miss the opportunity because of their pride.

About eight years ago, I thought I was too proud, but when Steven lost his job, was going blind, and we had no means for food we surely didn’t pass up the food at the food pantry that was ours if only our pride wouldn’t walk through the door with us.

Sure I was witness to people taking advantage of a system that was put in place to help people like us. I myself wasn’t able to go out and get a job because Steven was losing his sight, he needed to be taken to the doctors, he needed to be taken places that he could not have gotten to on his own. Yes we were offered gas for our truck from the Pastor and no we didn’t hide in shame, we HAD to take it. We were learning how to humble ourselves.

When we needed help in moving from Texas to Nebraska, the arm of the Lord reached out and guided us seeing to it that we had a house to come to, accepting assistance from people who didn’t even know us, to ones who knew us personally. We basically were in God’s hands for about three years before things began to change. Steven got his sight back, Steven got a job and we learned a lot about what the face of patience looks like along with a humble spirit, along with watching any ounce of pride fleeing from us like we were lepers.

I then was diagnosed with lower lumbar facet joint arthritis in my back. A chronic pain which would limit my mobility but praise God, didn’t leave me completely immobile. I can do lots of stuff, but pride often tries to rear its head. Like some Loch Ness monster, it peeks out only for me to see. “No, I don’t need a cane,” “No, I don’t need pain pills,” “No, I don’t need this or that or the other thing.” Yup, pride, swimming in the murky waters wanting me to take a hold of it BUT never really ensnaring me in its trap.

Sure I can be too proud to declare that I’ve stood in line at the Department of Welfare, I can put on a brave face and claim ‘I NEVER stood in the aisles of a food pantry.’ But what would the point in that be? I’m here to tell you that even the Godliest of people have suffered the pangs of pride; threw off the ugliness and embraced true blessings.

The next time you look at a homeless man or woman and think they are the scum of the earth, why not think of what put them there? Why not show a little compassion and understanding knowing that not ALL homeless people WANT to be where they are. They just never caught a break. Your pride won’t allow you to walk up to one and hand him coffee or a few quarters for some food. No, you’re too afraid he’ll just use the money for booze but really that is your pride talking. You’re too proud to approach the homeless.

Heb. 13: 2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

And keep in mind, while you’re sitting there all haughty and prideful, a fall will come when you least expect it and you’ll have no one else to blame but yourself. Pride is also dressed in boasting. Neither is attractive or becoming to a Christian.

Pss.10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

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