Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pride




Genesis 3:5
For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

I recently had a conversation with a church leader about how that church was run and afterwards something just didn’t feel right—and it was something in me.

I was pondering this after my morning prayers and what I found in me was something I didn’t like at all.

Pride.

Oh, I had asked all the right questions. Questions of theology and doctrine and practice. And the answers were spot on.

But I had asked those questions with an air of judgment. What I found in my heart was something I had not expected and something hard to put into words. It felt like one of those sins one could never repent of—something so bad it was hard to face—something to rationalize, to pretend it didn’t happen, to make excuses for.

Given all the sins of my past, I have not found it hard to avoid pride. I know I am no better than anyone else. God has been very good about reminding me just how humble I should be whenever I’ve even come close to thinking I was some kind of genius or big-shot.

But this—this one snuck up on me. Maybe it’s because writing this blog has drawn me closer to Christ. Maybe it’s because I’ve been doing more and more things in service to the Lord. My faith and my commitment to Jesus have definitely grown, but....

I just didn’t expect to look back on a conversation and find myself with the heart of a Pharisee. It was not a pretty sight.

Despite the nagging in my heart, I had things that needed to be done. I sat down at the kitchen table and decided to finally reply to the letter from the Indonesian child I sponsor through Compassion International. (For $38 per month, Bril gets food, medical care, and a Christian education. It’s a wonderful ministry. Months ago, I sent an extra $10 so Bril could have a birthday present.)

Here’s what Bril had written:

Shalom!
I would like to praise the Lord because of His love given to us so that me, my family, foster parents, and Dan Jones are in His protection.”
I am very grateful and would like to say thanks for the help and money gift given to me, and it has been used by my grandma to buy shoes for me. “
Once again, I would like to say thank you. I couldn’t repay Mr. Dan Jones’ kindness that had been given to me and my family.”
I leave it to God, He would repay your kindness.”
Thank you,
Loves greetings from Bril.”

And Jesus took my pride and nailed it right to the cross.

Here I was, all self-righteous and proud, yes, proud of my faith and my Biblical knowledge, and a nine year-old boy from Indonesia was overflowing with gratitude and glorifying God because the measly ten bucks I sent in had bought him a pair of shoes.

I wrote Bril back and told him he never had to even think about repaying me because I could never, ever even come close to repaying Jesus for what he did for me on that cross. I told him anything I was able to give him had come from God.

How do you cope with pride when you find it sneaking up on you? How do you recognize the signs and stop it before it comes out in your words or your actions?

Today’s Praise
James 4:6
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."



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