Warm Wednesday Words: Blind Sided by Pride

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It’s easy to notice something disagreeable in others.  It’s not so easy to pray for a renewed perspective insofar as our convictions will allow it.   Even if our position is unchangeable, our attitude should be gracious so that we don’t become puffed up with pride.  Elizabeth in “Pride and Prejudice” drove the point home when she complained about Mr. Darcy, ‘I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.’

“Mere Christianity”, C.S. Lewis says “According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind…”  He also says “the more we have it in ourselves, the more we dislike it in others”.   When we focus critically on others faults, then we may become blind sided with a blind side, and involuntarily adopt the sin of pride while we were ironically noting it in someone else.

Blind Side (Noun) 1. The side on which one’s vision, especially the peripheral vision, is limited or obstructed.   2. The side away from which one is directing one’s attention.

Blind Side(d) (v.t.) 2. To attack where a person is vulnerable.
(The Free Online Dictionary)

David said “Search me, God, and know my concerns.  See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.”  I wonder if he had just spent time with someone puffed up with pride.  The best antidote for those unpleasant moments is to ask God to reveal heart sins and spend some time in introspection and repentance for ourselves, as well as intercession for others.

tumblr_mlztoqiwo01s9od7wo1_500David was not an average king as far as pride goes.  Though he could have abused his power as many in high positions do, he asked God why he had even bothered with him and his family…and yet answered himself humbly, saying that he knew it was for the sake of God’s Word and to carry out His will, and that God had been kind enough to let him. a mere human and servant, know.  (2 Samuel 7:18-29) When we really get a grasp on this, we can’t be knocked off guard for long by difficulties and upsets.  Whatever comes our way…whatever lot in life we have, if we can just hold onto that it’s all part of God’s plan and for His glory, we’ll be ok.  We learn to showcase God in whatever circumstance He chooses for us.  He doesn’t hold titles, positions, wealth or any of that in esteem.  He values our devoted and intimate relationship with Him.  If we’re cast into a humbling role in life, rather short term or long term, we can rest assured that God’s grace is fuller and His presence nearer to give us all we need to trust and carry out His will.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus comforts us with many truths that fly in the face of the prideful, such as, “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more – no less.  That’s the moment when you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.” If you like treasure hunting, click on the link and you’ll find more.   (Matt. 5 MSG) 

There are both promises and warnings nestled in the Beatitudes and it’s clear Jesus sees beyond the outward things that we so easily put our pointy fingers on…right to the heart of every matter, which is where God looks.  Glimpsing into judgmental hearts has to be another reason why God is disgusted by pride and finds it an insult. If we really are finding something a stumbling block, and choose to pray about it, God is faithful to give us wisdom, reveal our own planks, and show us the direction He has for us, so that we are led by Him and not blind sided by pride.

Carry On, But Humbly

Photo credited to stewartmorris.

Aren’t you glad that God is no respecter of persons?  James 2:9,   I love our God, who sees our hearts and loves us and uses us in spite of that.  He sanctifies us even as he uses us.  No one but God is quite so confident in us.  Often we aren’t even confident in ourselves.  Thank God He can take our mumblings and our bungled efforts and bring glory to Himself through them!  Did you mess that task up or not fulfill it to perfection?  Great.  It is more usable by a God who looks at your heart and is pleased with any humility that He sees there.

Has the newness worn off of your welcome somewhere?  You are just as favored with God!  He never changes.  Did someone make you feel you weren’t up to par or as qualified?  Well guess what?  Your God does not think that way when He burdens your heart.  Acts 10:34.  Imagine a God who just looks at our heart, where it is right now.  No past failures.  No achievements.  No positions.  No titles.  The only qualifications listed here are those who fear Him and do what is right.  Ahhh….what a relief.  Though we can never reach perfection, through Christ’s atoning sacrifice, we are sanctified to carry out whatever God places in our hearts.  Let’s not get hung up on whether someone thinks we should hold a position to do this or that, or whether we look good enough.  1 Sam. 16:7 and Rom. 2:11

Have you given all that you can monetarily or with your time and it still doesn’t look like someone else’s efforts?  To God, you may look like the widow who gave nearly nothing, but He knew it was far more sacrificial than the others.  Luke 21: 1-4.  So keep giving and focusing on the One who knows all.  If you find yourself paying attention to what others think or comparing, (and who doesn’t from time to time!), you have just bought into the pride trap.  A common trap that we need to disentangle from as often as moment by moment.   In his book, “Mere Christianity”, C.S. Lewis says “According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind…”  He also says “the more we have it in ourselves, the more we dislike it in others”.  Ouch.  Again, time to refocus and often!

Another area pride leaps inside us is when we have been treated unfairly or unjustly, and the most difficult mistreatment is with some public consequence.  It is a hard test to be still when this happens and takes some working through!  But Jesus set that ultimate example on the cross.  I read a testimony of a very difficult trial a pastor went through and am challenged by his example.  You may be interested in reading his story on his blog.  I am inspired by several other people (including my family) and pastors in my life in this area as well.  Thank God for humble examples.

And lastly, it just helps to focus on others as more important than yourself.  Phil. 2:3 , Rom. 12:10  As God’s love moves you into action, everything but God’s approval becomes irrelevant.   Here is a great post on Love Moves.   So as we revel in that undeserved love God lavishes on us, we can more easily smile no matter what is going on around us or how much favor or lack of it we may feel is being shown us.