Written by: Taylor Williams
Published by Woodside Bible Church, www.woodsidebible.org
What is Your Pride Keeping You From?
Last week while sitting at my desk at work, I received an email that it was time to start our 2023 sales and marketing plans. Being what I consider an old pro, I promptly set to work, disregarding a few of the ‘important notes’ in the email instead of getting right to it. (At this point, you may know where this story is going, but I’ll still give you the end because who doesn’t love a good story of poor choices leading to failure and a lesson.) After finishing the first set of tasks before the deadline, I promptly shut off my computer and went to enjoy the weekend. Monday morning rolled around, and with that dreaded alarm came a notification that my first set of plans was not accepted into the internal system.
Why, you may ask? I disregarded the ‘important note’ of what starting date to select (the old pro that I am) and chose what I considered a more accurate starting date. This simple, prideful choice led me to spend another day recreating plans, canceling old ones, and generally feeling sheepish for not reading and following the memo the first time.
And while this was a minor prideful bump in a long history of myself (and humanity) allowing pride to cause us to stumble and fall, it is very telling of just how often and simply we can let pride get in the way — causing further pain and suffering for ourselves and those around us.
The Bible is full of stories of pride causing pain, broken relationships, and distance from God. In fact, pride causing spiritual distance from God happens almost immediately in Genesis. Adam and Eve listen to the serpent and choose to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to be like God, gaining wisdom of good and evil. Their hearts were filled with pride, leading them to make a sinful choice that caused further separation from God. C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, writes,
“Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”
Lewis continues to write that one of the most significant dangers of the sin of pride is that pride brings enmity between friends, family, and hatred to God. Not long after the fall in Genesis, we see pride rear its ugly head again, between two sons of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel. In Genesis Chapter 4, we meet these brothers who give an offering to God. The Bible tells us that Abel gives God his flock’s firstborn and fat portions, while Cain brings God fruit from the ground. God accepts Abel’s offering but rejects Cain’s, causing Cain to be upset.
Genesis 4:6, The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” 8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (ESV)
When God rejected Cain’s offering, we can surmise that with Cain’s anger over the rejection, his pride was also hurt. Rather than taking the rejection of his offering from God and reacting with repentance, Cain becomes angry and depressed. Pride begins to rear its ugly head even more when in jealousy, Cain kills his brother Abel and denies knowing what happened when God comes asking where Abel is. Pride caused Cain to kill his brother. Now, pride is causing him to further his division from God by not seeking repentance but instead denying even any knowledge of wrongdoing occurring against Abel. Cain’s pride keeps him from the forgiveness of God.
How often does pride show up in our own lives and cause disruptions, pain, and suffering? How often do we deny wrongdoing, choose a path we believe to be better, or refuse to ask for forgiveness because we don’t want to admit that we did anything wrong in the first place? Pride is an easy sin to fall into, and we often don’t even realize we are in it until we are already there. The problem with pride is that it can blind us to our own need for forgiveness and a savior.
God is always calling us to Him, seeking to provide forgiveness to repentant hearts through our Savior Jesus Christ. This week, we encourage you to look into your own heart and see areas where pride may be blinding you to your need for God’s love and forgiveness. God is seeking you, don’t let pride get in the way. Because if our pride keeps us from asking for forgiveness for our wrongdoings, then how can God provide us with His mercy?