“There is one vice of which no man or woman in the world is free; which everyone in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. There is no fault which makes a man or woman more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.”
Those were the wise and spiritually motivated words of C.S. Lewis, a brilliant writer and apologist who in the later years of his life was converted to Christianity.
The vice, or as C.S. Lewis called it THE GREAT SIN is perhaps the deadliest of all:
Lewis says that pride is an ego–motivated maneuver to hide from ourselves and others the truth about our inner reality. It comes about, says the gospel writer Mark “from within and defiles a man or woman.”
Perhaps one of the greatest examples of destructive pride was the ancient King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. This great King, the mightiest of his time, at or about 600 B.C. was a living example of pride which goes before destruction. He built then the city far and a way the most famous and beautiful in the world at that time, the great city of Babylon. Its huge walls were 387 feet high and 85 feet wide, wide enough that four chariots could be driven side by side along the top. The city was a perfect square, 15 miles on each of the four sides, comfortably housing a population of 1.2 million. The mighty Euphrates River flowed through the city and gardens, groves, orchards and farmlands were contained therein, providing enough food to feed the entire city. Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel was full of himself, as prideful as any man could be. Hear his words about himself and his great creation Babylon:
“Is not this great Babylon that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”
In one sentence, Nebuchadnezzar referred to himself with one I and two my’s. The great Jehovah brought him down, big time because of his arrogance, his egoism. God turned him into a wolfman and for seven years he ate with the animals until such time as he repented and was restored by the Almighty to his throne. In the case of Nebuchadnezzar, pride indeed went before destruction.
A good definition of pride is inordinate self–esteem. Too much, character changing to the point where, as C.S. Lewis so well said to the point where this vice causes all to dislike the person. Pride as well is conceit of superiority, better than others, better than the average person, the common man and woman. We see today a perfect example of that in Vladimir Putin. The man is ruthless, barbaric. He is a murderer, a destroyer because HE believes he is right, entitled and destined. He has total disdain for others and through political maneuverings, has become a virtual dictator in Russia like Stalin, like Kruschev, a believer in the theories of Karl Marx, a rabid communist determined to rebuild the old Soviet Union, the UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS.
Prideful persons are arrogant. They have an exalted opinion of themselves and there is considerable vanity in their lives. They are indifferent to others. They don’t listen. They simply manipulate the opinion of others in order that what they believe and in a prideful way know is right is fully accepted. Such a man was the Apostle Paul, then Saul, hard as a rock, a prideful, hateful pharisee who saw it as his life mission to destroy and kill Christians. Pride in old line Judaism drove him. But the Christ of Glory brought him down, humbled him beyond belief and radically changed his life. Even as God did that to Nebuchadnezzar, and the Son to Paul, so the day will come when Putin will be brought down and his and Russian pride will be destroyed. Never forget that pride goes before destruction.
Pride hardens the heart. A prideful person not only does not listen, but cannot learn and can never appreciate others. Take the case of one of the original twelve disciples, Judas. Here was a man with one of the greatest twelve privileges of all mankind. He worked with, was influenced by, learned from and served the Christ of Glory but never learned to appreciate his God–given opportunity. In fact, he sabotaged, sought to betray and was unfaithful with the money of the Apostles. His thievery and personal shame caused him to commit suicide. How much would you have appreciated being on the original twelve of Jesus Christ? Judas was a prideful man.
And so was Peter. When the Roman soldiers came to get our Lord, Peter did not depend upon God, or his Lord for defense. But, took it upon himself to go to battle. He drew his sword, cut off the ear of a Roman soldier and otherwise stood ready for battle until he was put down by his Lord. His pride led him to believe that he could save the day, something utterly impossible. Had he gone to battle with the Roman soldiers, Peter’s Pride would have destroyed him. Pride goes before destruction.
It is indeed a deadly sin, perhaps the deadliest of the sins. IT EXISTS IN YOU AND ME! We hate to be wrong, criticized, ridiculed, mocked or rejected, do we not? All of us are that way MORE OR LESS, all of us. The only real remedy, lasting, permanent and transforming is:
SALVATION IN JESUS CHRIST.
That includes the input in heart and soul of humility, grace and most of all, LOVE. If God hates pride and God does, and if it is a C.S. Lewis says a vice of which no man in the world is free, and if at times we are even unaware (unconscious) of pride in ourselves, then the only remedy is:
SALVATION IN JESUS CHRIST.
You see pride in others and you, as C.S. Lewis says, and I loathe it. We simply do not like a prideful person. It is trouble, a pathway to wrong decisions, a force which prevents the ability to listen and learn. It is toxic, like poison in the body and it will eventually, EVENTUALLY destroy a man or woman. It destroys relationships and marriages. And all the while it wreaks human havoc, it perhaps becomes more than ever one of the things:
THE LORD HATES!
Our political leaders today are extremely prideful. Many of our religious leaders are as well. Perhaps the most prideful are educators, or learned people. The more in the head, the less in the heart. The Holy Spirit can knock at the heart’s door, but there is no heart key to let it in. That is because pride dwells therein and pride is the ultimate destroyer.
It is all well and good for us to take satisfaction in accomplishments, including our own intellects, physical or emotional abilities. We can be fulfilled in what we do, and take pleasure in our accomplishments. We can have confidence in ourselves without stepping over the line into the dastardly world of pride. God indeed is a God of love, but we are clearly told that GOD HATES (incredibly opposite) pride. If not now, the time will come when it will bring down any person no matter how high up or powerful. May God melt you, show you yourself when pride rules and lead you away from that short path of that destruction. I know one who could do that. That one is a:
CARPENTER FROM NAZARETH!