24/07/2023 by Rev. Doug Walker 0 Comments
As seen in the HEARTbeat and the Village Voice
What is pride? Like a lot of words we use today, pride has taken on several different meanings. When I find myself confused (and that’s a lot), I usually go to the source of all things defined – The Oxford Languages dictionary. It defines pride as, “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”
When I read the definition, I picture a three-pronged pitchfork. If you have never used a pitchfork, it is an instrument used in olden times to pick up hay and toss it into a specific location. It has three long, narrow tines that easily slide into the loose hay and when raised holds the long strands of hay between the tines. It is a very efficient way to move hay around a stall or feed area.
What I see in the above definition of pride can be dangerous. There is nothing wrong with feeling pleased with your achievements, but thinking it was all “self” and no one else is a little egotistical, don’t you think? And what about having possessions that are widely admired by others, or dare I say coveted?
Proverbs is a book in the Bible primarily written by one who was called the “Wisest man who ever lived,” Solomon. It is a book of wise sayings and a textbook for teaching people how to live Godly lives through the repetition of wise thoughts. I find it to hold wonderful teachings on how we should live a Christian life. Couple it with the words of Jesus and you have a great Christian-walk plan.
So, what does Proverbs say about pride? Is it a good thing? Not according to Solomon. Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 16:5 says, “The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” There are several other scriptures throughout the Bible that talks about the destructive nature of pride, but these three say it best.
We would be foolish to think we got where we are in our lives all on our own. Did we not have great teachers, great coaches, great motivators to push us to be our best? Did we not have people in our lives who gave us a chance when no one else would? And what about a best friend who would look us in the eye and tell us what we needed the hear, the truth, instead of what we wanted to hear, a lie? The seventeenth-century author/philosopher John Donne said, “No man is an island, no man lives alone.” This is to say no one is self-sufficient!
We cannot live the Christian life on our own. We need the Holy Spirit in us, Jesus as our guide, and the humbleness to know we are His! God is the author of our lives. Let’s live them well enough to make our creator pleased. After all, “Well done, good and faithful servant” are the words we all long to hear someday.