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Pride Leads the Procession

March 21st, 2015 No comments

Pride leads the procession of the Seven Deadly Sins, and with good reason. Pride places us in our imaginings equal with God. Pride tells us that we are sufficient to ourselves, that we need neither the providence of God nor the help of man. While from the inside it looks like elevation, it in fact leads to isolation. It separates us from the community of our fellows so that we may more easily be captured by the father of lies. That is why pride is the gateway to all of the other sins.

Pride is all the more dangerous in those who aspire to godliness. A man or woman will come to God because the end of their resources has been reached, and surrenders all to the will of the Father. But as soon as the crisis passes the healed one seeks rather than to live in humility, to create the image among their fellows that they have achieved a state where they no longer need others. Spiritual pride is our enemy’s greatest tool because it leads the proud one to believe he is not proud.

Consider the story Jesus tells in the Luke’s gospel about the Pharisee and the tax collector. The tax collector is painfully aware of his deficiency and his guilt, and he cries out to God for mercy. The Pharisee looks upon the tax collector with scorn, sure of his own righteousness. Indeed, outwardly, his manners may be righteous. But Jesus’ point is to show that a heart blind to the depths of its own depravity and deaf to the cries of another cannot be justified. Not because God does not love, but because God’s love is refused. And the perversity of human nature is such that, once the tax collector has felt God’s mercy, he will soon find himself standing in the place of the Pharisee, sure of his own adequacy.

We enter into community broken. It is our brokenness that makes us open to receive the gifts we may from our spiritual family. Let us not be so proud that we cannot acknowledge our need. And let us not be so proud that we scorn our brothers and sisters in need.

Dust

March 1st, 2015 No comments
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