It is Not Proud

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

-I Corinthians 13:4

Envy and boastfulness

Are somewhat opposite sins

With the one we desire what someone else has

With the other we want to show off what we have

But really both come from the same place

Pride

Being “puffed up”

Thinking more highly of myself than I should

No one enjoys being around a pride-filled person

Even if they have reason

The gold medalist who glories in himself

And the silver medalist who complains she didn’t get the gold

Are equally obnoxious

Don’t we prefer the humble athlete with the well-worn shoes

The one who wasn’t supposed to even be on the podium?

Who can’t believe his good fortune in making it this far?

The one who is quick to thank others

Deflecting the glory?

Even if all he took home was the bronze

Or perhaps never medaled at all

We are drawn to humility in others

And repulsed by pride

It tops the list of sins God says he hates

For good reason

And yet isn’t it one of our “acceptable sins”

That we secretly forgive ourselves for

Or that we aren’t even aware is at the heart

Of many of our other sins?

A poison we ingest willingly

I show pride

When I argue with my husband

Refusing to see an issue form his point of view

Refusing to be the first to break the cycle

To approach him in gentleness

And with a spirit of forgiveness

Preferring the madness of staying mad

To humbling myself and talking it through

I show pride when I think

I could do something better than someone else

Someone God has put in their position

Whose authority I should submit to willingly

Even when they don’t always get it right

So their burden may be light and not heavy

I show pride when I talk

And think about what to say next

Instead of listening

I show pride

When I’m defensive

A porcupine with quills ready to shoot

A screwdriver ready to drive my point home

Fists clenched

Instead of palms open

I show pride

When I mess up

And know I should apologize

And find an excuse not to

Yes, pride, unfortunately

Is a familiar sin

And pride is incompatible with love

So how do we grow in humility

Learn to put others first?

It is not a flesh-response to put others first

In my flesh I am always first

Romans 12 comes to mind

Being transformed by the renewing of my mind

Transformed

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

-Romans 12:2-3

What follows this well-loved verse

Is the instruction not to think of yourself

More highly than you ought

And the passage about one body with many gifts

And really when my husband and I argue

Don’t I really just want him to think like me?

Instead of valuing what he sees?

We both lose

When we fail to value the other

A different point of view

Instead of wholly accepting one or the other

Choosing a third course

Better together

Than either one alone

And when I value my ideas over others’

Aren’t I really failing to see and understand

That they might be an arm and I the hand

If I fight against where the arm leads

I cannot do the delicate work of the hand

Capable of so much when working together

I am but one piece

Of a very large puzzle

God is putting together

A paragraph in a novel

A supporting character in the play

I am not the author or the playwright

I am not the artist

But the clay

Not the songwriter

But one of the notes that he plays

The melody sounds so much prettier

Without missing keys

Oh to live in humility instead of pride

Hope instead of cynicism

Openness instead of defensiveness

Not trying to change anyone else but myself

Let go of cynicism

Let go of pride

Renewing our minds in God’s living Word

So we may be people of light

A warm and inviting fire

Not a sputtering candle

Let us be content to be the humble bronze-medalist

Cheering on others

A haven for the hurting

For pride repels

But humility invites

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s