Bread – Pride

October 22, 2010


Readings for Friday, October 22, designated by the Book of Common Prayer: *; Rev. 9:13-21; Luke 10:38-42; Psalms 31, 35

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Why do men ignore God?

Perhaps one of the greatest frustrations of an evangelist, a preacher, a teacher of Scripture, or a defender of the faith is the absolute inability of our words to penetrate into someone who lives their life ignoring God. Oh we like to believe that we can have influence and sometimes God lets us participate in His miracle of faith or healing or restoration, but much seed falls upon rocky ground.

Why do men ignore God? Perhaps the best place to begin answering that question is to ask why we do. Why do I ignore God?

Pride. That sense of “I am special; I am good; I am not as evil as him; I have earned it.” I, I, I, I, and me. Oh, yeah, and maybe whatever god we need at the moment.

In our reading in Revelation today, God kills one-third of mankind, and yet “the rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping … [anything or anyone except God].” Rev. 9:20. Why? Pride.

In our reading in Luke today, Martha prepares the house for Jesus while Mary sits as His feet and watches and listens. We instantly know and relate to Martha because, who would not prepare their house for their dinner guests or the President of the United States? Why listen to the King of the Universe when I need to be about my business so that I can look good? Martha essentially ignored God while God was present. Why? Pride in her house and her hospitality; since our houses and our actions are merely representative of who we are, the underlying answer is pride in herself.

Psalm 31 in our reading today ends with this: “The Lord preserves the faithful, but the proud He pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Ps. 31:23b-24. Do you really want to be paid back by God for who you are and the things you have said and done? Do you really?

I think most thoughtful men (and women) would answer this last question “No, I do not want to be paid back (really) for whom I (really) am and for what I have (really) said and done.” And yet we act this way, sometimes all day every day. Why? Pride.

If I know that Mary chooses the better way by listening to Jesus and being with Him, and I know that God preserves the faithful but pays back the pride, how do I stop acting like it is me? One answer might be that I should nail my pride to the cross of Jesus…but look how prideful that statement is. Like I have any power whatsoever to nail anything to Jesus’ cross! The “I should” suggests that “I can.” And if “I can” then why don’t I? See the “I.” See the pride.

The fact is that we can’t and we won’t in our own power. We need someone to come grab us and take us, to open our eyes and ears, to love us first. That someone is Jesus Christ, that someone is the Holy Spirit, that someone is God the Father. That someone is God.

But … in our pride we want to do something to help. So let us do this today … pray “Come Holy Spirit.” Or pray this line from our last reading today, Psalm 35: “Awake, and arise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and my Lord.” Ps. 35:23 Amen.

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