THE SIN OF PRIDE by Harold Sala

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The Bible leaves no question about where God stands in relationship to what He loves and what He hates. And furthermore, He makes it clear that He expects His people to incorporate His view in their personal lives. “There are six things the LORD hates,” wrote Solomon in the book of Proverbs, and the first to be mentioned is pride. A lot of things could have been at the top of the list, yet arrogance and pride are especially distasteful to our heavenly Father. Why? Why not put drunkenness or infidelity at the top of that list? Why not drug use, or wars which tear families and nations apart?

Could it be that pride is so distasteful to the Almighty because. as perhaps no other sin, pride is taking credit for something that someone else has really done, and usually God is that Someone. Have you ever noticed that in the English word pride the middle letter is the vertical pronoun, I?

I’m thinking of the tale which comes from Aesop’s Fables where a frog wants to go to a warmer climate and avoid the cold and snow of winter so he convinces two geese to hold a stick in their mouths as they fly south and he in turn grasps the stick firmly in his jaw and sets sail with the geese for the warmth of a sunnier climate. The journey goes quite well until a farmer looks up and sees the frog being carried by the two large geese who have the stick in their beaks. “My, what a marvelous picture of cooperation,” remarks the farmer out loud. I wonder who was smart enough to think that up.” Upon hearing the comments, the frog immediately responded, “I did!” But in doing so, he turned loose of his stick and fell to the earth. Proverbs says that “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). In the frog’s case, it was a long fall.

Two passages in the Old Testament speak of the fall of Satan, who at one time was an archangel in the presence of the Almighty. Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 both tell of the pride which led to his downfall. Satan said, “…I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God… I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13,14). But God allows no competition.

No individual makes it to the top on his own, and the person whose heart is lifted with pride takes credit for what he or she does not deserve. One of the strange things about this malady is that those who are most infected with it recognize it the least. Someone said that pride comes in three styles: pride of race, pride of face, and pride of grace. The first, pride of race, deals with the feeling of genetic superiority, something we are not born with but quickly acquire from our parents and peers.

The second kind of pride deals with arrogance, or the feeling that you are more beautiful, more intelligent, or more handsome than the other person–something which afflicts both men and women alike.

The third kind of pride–pride of grace–is the mistaken belief that you are more spiritual than others. This kind of pride has a lot of variations–the belief that Baptists are right and Presbyterians are wrong and vice versa, the belief that all others are wrong and you are surely right.

Of one thing we are sure: God hates pride–perhaps more than any of these other flaws of character. Scripture is right: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). No wonder God hates it so much!

Resource Reading: Isaiah 14:1-23

Text: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – May 23, 2017