The Enemy That Yet Lurks Within, Pt. 3

“Al orgullo le sigue la destruccion; a la altaneria, el fracaso.”(Proverbios 16:18)

Confused? Welcome to one of the many “destructive” results of pride — the confusion of languages at Babel (Gen. 11:1-9). Not only does pride go before destruction and a haughty spirit before stumbling (the above passage in case you don’t know Spanish), but this sin by itself carries within it the seed for every other sin. It was the first committed and it will be the last judged when all bow before Christ (Phil. 2:10-11). It has brought down angels, destroyed the human race, aroused anger in God, and is the result of every soul that now suffers in hell at this moment.

Defining this “malady of maladies” isn’t as easy as Merriam-Webster would have us to believe, as its manifestations are legion — the most notorious being unbelief (Hab. 2:2-4). Notice how John Piper puts it: “Pride is difficult to define because its manifestations are subtle and often do not look like arrogance. We can see this if we compare boasting and self-pity as two forms of pride. Boasting is the response of pride to success. Self-pity is the response of pride to suffering. Boasting says, “I deserve admiration because I have achieved so much.” Self-pity says, “I deserve admiration because I have sacrificed so much.” Boasting is the voice of pride in the heart of the strong. Self-pity is the voice of pride in the heart of the weak. Boasting sounds self-sufficient. Self-pity sounds self-sacrificing. The reason self-pity does not look like pride is that it appears to be needy. But the need arises from a wounded ego, and the desire is not really for others to see them as helpless but as heroes. The need that self-pity feels does not come from a sense of unworthiness but from a sense of unrecognized worthiness. It is the response of unapplauded pride.” (Desiring God, pg. 302).

Pride is the only sin that when we lift our hands to God to give Him everything, will still find a home in the very hands we use. Never confuse thinking less of yourself with thinking of yourself less. Pride is far more subtle than that. The first beatitude, poverty of spirit (Mt. 5:3), is first for a reason — it’s the entrance for every other beatitude and the only way God gives faith and grace (Js. 4:6). Until God deals with your pride, dealing with any other sin will be a waste of time — and that’s true in any language.

– Mark Lacour

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