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Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (NIV)
My mom often used to say to me, "Watch out! Pride comes before a fall, John!" Usually, she said it when I was being a typical teenager and wouldn't heed her advice. I'd be going to do something stupid, and, in my ornery, essert, and stubborn way, I wouldn't accept her maternal wisdom. (Essert is an old Scottish word which means stubborn and ornery rolled into one.)
For example, I used to sit on the porch in my front garden and ridicule the kids who walked by in the street. We'd call each other names. I guess it was a twisted form of territorialism. My mom was never impressed with this and scolded me on several occasions, which usually ended with me walking away as she voiced those awful words, "Pride comes before a fall."
Inevitably, my mom was right, because one day a kid from the neighbouring subdivision walked past my front gate. I did my usual jeering, expecting him to do the same. He didn't. He walked through the garden gate and dealt me a swift uppercut to my jaw. His name was Eddie, and he was training to be a boxer. I ran into my house in pain, whilst Eddie continued his journey. My mom had seen the whole incident, and she was very unsympathetic to my plight. I didn't know what humiliated me the most — Eddie's first-class punch or my mom's words ringing in my ears. I had learned a lesson on both accounts. I had been taught what I didn't want to hear.
Pride leads us into blind alleys and causes us to reject help. Pride paralyzes addicts from seeking a cure. Pride stops us from asking for forgiveness and keeps us from healing broken relationships. Pride is amongst the deadliest of sins to our souls, and it always comes before a fall.
Jesus discarded pride when He humbled Himself and became, as Paul states, "obedient to death". He didn't have to sacrifice Himself for our sins. He didn't have to go to Jerusalem to be falsely accused and corruptly judged by the authorities. He didn't have to walk the way of suffering to the cross at Calvary, so that our world may be saved. Pride could have kept Him from doing all of these things. Love, mercy, and grace empowered Him to overcome pride and bring salvation to sinners everywhere.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, sometimes our pride imprisons our spirits and damages our relationships. Sometimes our pride ruins our dreams and diminishes our faith. Forgive our vanity; pardon our stubborn ways. Grant us the strength and courage to overcome pride. Be with us and lead us by Your love. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.
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