July 21, 2007

A Deadly Sin: Pride

Luke 18:9-14

[The Lord] mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34


We noted in yesterday's reading that belonging to Jesus means belonging to each other. One bread--one body. That's what the church is. And belonging to each other means looking out for each other. The church has encouraged Christian community by identifying areas of special concern for Christian living. Many years ago it discerned seven sins that produce deadly consequences for God's people, eroding our relationship with God.

Pride is the first of those deadly sins. Pride rushes in where humility breaks down.

Today's verses from Luke 18 point to that. The Pharisee was the less obvious sinner, but actually both he and the tax collector had the same problem: tainted spiritual blood. Regardless of public opinion, both were sinners.

In pride we assume that in spite of our guilty taint, we are not as bad as someone else. Then we assume that we don't need the same "cleansing" from Jesus. In short, we don't need God's offer of grace.

That's when we run into trouble with God. It doesn't matter what we think of ourselves or what others think of us: bad blood is bad blood. Our pride gets in the way of dealing with forgiveness and renewal. As Proverbs points out, grace comes only to the humble because only humility moves us to get honest with God and others.

Are you experiencing God's grace?

Lord, some people's lives clearly show why they need you. I know I'm one of them, but I don't always see it. Please show me so that I may genuinely come to you. Amen.

About the author — Henry Kranenburg

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