Pride Divides

I am often surprised by the determination people have to block the goodness or goodwill of others. Most times, this determination seems fueled by pride and the mere desire to thwart a plan or idea that wasn’t theirs. Pride leads us to believe that we are the only ones standing in correct thought or opinion, and renders us unable to listen or see the bigger picture. This pride disconnects us from others, self sabotages, and steals from us the ability to celebrate others. We have come to be so individualized and differentiated from the other that we live in pods of isolation, solely affixed upon ourselves.

“When pride comes, so does shame, but wisdom brings humility.” Proverbs 11:2, CEB

“The empty-headed cause conflict out of pride; those who take advice are wise.” Proverbs 13:10, CEB

“Pride spouts in the mouth of a fool, but the lips of the wise protect them.” Proverbs 14:3, CEB

“Pride comes before disaster, and arrogance before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18, CEB

“Pride comes before a disaster, but humility comes before respect.” Proverbs 18:12, CEB

“Incredibly proud – mockers are their name! Their conduct involves excessive pride.” Proverbs 21:24, CEB

“Pride lays people low, but those of humble spirit gain honor.” Proverbs 29:23, CEB

Isn’t Proverbs the snark of scripture? There is no burn, as the youth around me like to say, like the burn of truth. It stings. Proverbs doesn’t bring snark, but wisdom. It cuts us right in the places it hurts the most; the places we deny exist. Not a one of us are immune to the perils of pride. We “take pride” and “have pride” in ourselves, our minds, our loved ones, even, as Romans says, in our sufferings. We boast of our abilities, our gifts, and our accomplishments. In order to sooth our insecurities, we pridefully put ourselves as more righteous than others; rarely seeking the shoes of humility in which to walk out our faith.

There’s a saying I’ve heard often that says ‘comparison is the death of contentment.’ Comparison is indeed a symptom of pride in our lives and especially in our hearts. Our brokenness leads us here. We want acceptance, validation, approval, and belonging. When we don’t receive it, our rejection-fueled pride screams out, lashes out, to ‘prove’ ourselves worthy. Wisdom tells us that this reactionary behavior is dangerous not just to ourselves but to those around us. In truth, our pridefulness rarely hurts just us but rather its effects are far more reaching than we could imagine.

“Not only do they seek to harm our subjects, but they even attempt to scheme against their own benefactors since they are unable to manage their pride.” Esther (Greek) Addition E:3, CEB

“But when he could no longer hold his pride in check, he made it his business to rob us of our leadership and our life.” Esther (Greek) Addition E:12, CEB

Pride blocks our ability to listen to others. We are so self-assured in our own ways, that we fail to listen to the voices of those around us. We are unable to see that sometimes ours is the best idea in the room, and sometimes its the worst. Each voice has purpose and value. Each perspective comes from a place of origin, with experiences all of its own.

My prayer this week is that in new life and through new eyes, we could begin to live in ways that embrace our need for the other. I pray that God’s purposes would be valued as greater than our own. And I pray that we could see one another for who we really are rather than enemies, or competition, or objects of comparison.

Carry On My Wayward Son

“Carry on my way wayward son. They’ll be peace when you are done.” – Kansas

I was driving Route 66 back home when I noticed a man carrying a cross. Normally I like to mind my own business, but the man who’s funeral I officiated today lived his life to the fullest and it inspired me. As I drove past the road warrior, I thought about Bill and I pulled over. Our witness and how we live our lives, what we stand for and who we stand up for, they all matter. I walked over to this stranger, introversion screaming, and asked him his name and about his journey. This is Donald. He wants to share hope with those who see him. He wants them to know God still loves them and hasn’t turned away from them. Happy Trails, Donald and Bill. We all have a road to walk. Thank you for your testimonies. Pray for Donald’s walk. #whatsyourwitness

“Teach me your way, LORD, so that I can walk in your truth. Make my heart focused only on honoring your name.” Psalms‬ ‭86:11‬ ‭CEB



​​​

New Beginnings

Semisonic wrote a 1998 hit with the song, Closing Time. It was a catchy little diddy that has lodged itself in my mental musical jukebox for life. In fact, I recently realized that this song has two lyrics I’m heard saying frequently.

“You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.”

and

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

It’s that last one though…its on repeat.

Think of all the new beginnings in life that started from a hard slam of a door, a painful ending, or even a happy and peaceful goodbye. Every do-over began with the desire to leave the past. Every amends begins with letting go. Every new adventure you set out on started with a step away from the previous adventure.

The next best adventure is the one that awaits you. It requires a packing list of fortitude, wonder, and faith. In order to get to where God is leading us next, we have to let go of where we’ve been and believe that what is up ahead is as exciting as what we are leaving behind. We must take the risk that we will fall, fail, and even break, so that we can receive what God has in store for us.

Isaiah 43:18-19 says “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

I reflect on the way the disciples felt when Jesus died, and how I felt at different times in my life when I thought for sure that “it was all over.” What we saw as a hard finish, turned into brilliant new beginnings. I’m at another ending as I prepare to transition into a new beginning. The ending is hard on the heart. The beginning is exciting and terrifying at the same time. But I have faith that what God has in store is far greater yet than anything I have ever imagined.

Birdee Pruitt (Sandra Bullock) said in the movie Hope Floats: “Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too…”

Here’s to the difficult endings, to the sweet gooey middles that keep you going, and to the new beginnings that start with a trust in God that cannot be shaken.