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The Sin of Pride (3-29-2020)

Sunday School Superintendent Devotions  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Devotional for March 29, 2020 Hello my Brothers and Sisters. My Scripture for today is Proverbs 6:16-19: “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” (NIV) The Sunday School lesson for March 29 is full of valuable teachings about morality. Although we often focus on sexual sin as THE sin, there are others. I want to focus today on the sin of pride, or as Proverbs 6:17 says: “haughty eyes.” I read several commentaries on this verse and one of them says it best: “Pride is put first [in the list of 7 deadly sins], because it is at the bottom of all disobedience and rebellion against God's laws. It is the very opposite of humility…” Another says: “Pride is the first of the hateful things mentioned; it being the first sin committed, as is probable, the sin of the angels, and of the first man; and is a predominant evil in human nature, and is directly opposite to God and to his nature, and against which he sets himself… https://biblehub.com/commentaries/proverbs/6-17.htm Our Sunday School lesson (p. 32) says “The first sin occurred when pride was found in the archangel Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12-14). Is it any wonder God hates it so, or that it has been called the deadliest sin?” When I looked up the seven deadly sins, all the lists put pride first, just as does Proverbs. Pride is an easily misunderstood word. The English language is sometimes very slippery. The word pride can be used in a positive sense such as parents being proud of their newborn baby, or pride in your winning baseball team, or pride in your country or patriotism. I am proud of this church community, for example. But of course, even these seemingly positive instances of pride can turn into something negative if they become arrogance or a sense of superiority or being better than all others. Positive pride can turn into egotism. Speaking of egotism, I have often used the word ego instead of pride. To me, one way to think of ego is that it is part of our personality that perceives that we are separate from God and the universe. It is a sense of being either above or apart from God and others. This sense of separation and superiority can become so exaggerated that someone thinks that they are god, that their accomplishments and creations make them THE CREATOR. In the Bible we see examples of false teachers and even people who claimed to be messiah. Throughout history there have been leaders who saw themselves as the saviors of their people, nation, or group. As soon as someone starts seeing themselves in this way, they are on a perilous path. Our Sunday school lesson points out that the other big sins (lying, murder, wicked thoughts and readiness to sin in general) are based on pride and set us on a “collision course with the wrath of God.” (p. 33) The Bible does not use the word ego, but: … the word ego generally refers to an exaggerated sense of self-importance, which usually results in an excessive preoccupation with “self.” But dying to self, the polar opposite of ego, is the biblical model for Christians. The Bible is filled with admonitions against the self because of man’s inherent desire to be worshiped. In fact, all the various forms of modern idolatry have self at their very core. from: https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-ego.html One of the good things about Christianity is that our founder Jesus Christ who is in fact, God, showed us the opposite of ego and pride, as proved by his final moments alive on the cross when he refused to strike down the Romans and Jewish leaders who put him there. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus is the prime example of humility, of a God who is the very essence of Love and the very opposite of pride. I once heard a recovering alcoholic say that the biggest hurdle to his recovery was admitting that he was not God. He spoke of his trying to own up to his powerlessness and mistakes. He told me that the prayer that helped him get through his shame, anxiety and fears was the serenity prayer which he recited for me: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” He told me that a huge part of his recovery was connecting with others, and reestablishing or repairing damaged or lost relationships wherever possible. I would say that by doing these things he was learning humility and love. He was learning to give up his own pride and ego. Below are some questions to ponder and answer. Be patient with yourself. It might take a while to answer them. 1. On what occasions do you think your pride is a sin? 2. Which of your thoughts, actions, or attitudes do you think go against what God wants because they are coming from your pride? 3. When do you find it difficult to escape your pride in favor of love? For example, when you have a “fight” or conflict with someone do you find it difficult to be the first one to apologize or make amends because you are absolutely sure you are in the right? Reminder Read the lesson For March 29th in your quarterly booklet: Bible Scholar (Spring 2020). If you don’t have a booklet, Pastor Kevin or Sister Sheila will mail you one – just call or email them. Also, remember that you can enhance your study of and appreciation for this lesson by reading the Daily Bible Readings at the end of each lesson. Blessings and good health to all of you. Glenn Currier Sunday School Superintendent
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