Humans are broken.
We are completely messed up. Beyond repair. Fundamentally flawed.
That’s not something I like to think about. I want to believe that if I work hard enough I can be a good person. That if I say and do the right things, that makes me okay in God’s eyes. I know that’s not true. But my actions don’t always bear that out.
And I think that’s because of my pride.
I don’t like the idea that my efforts can be corrupted. It bothers me to think that what starts out with the best intentions can quickly become arrogant and unloving. But that’s how pride works. It slowly corrupts even our best intentions. No wonder CS Lewis called pride the root of all evil.
I teach a class called “Welcome to the Revolution”. The focus is on newly baptized believers. The goal is to help them understand the basics of Christianity (Bible, prayer, community) and how to apply those to your life.
Teaching this class has really reminded me of the dangers of pride. As the teacher it’s very easy for me to think that I have it all figured out. That I’ve been there. That I’ve made the hard choices. That my faith is somehow “better” because I’ve been doing it longer. But when I talk to people and hear their stories I find I am humbled. Everyone, no matter who it is, has paid a price for their faith. They have all had to make sacrifices and tough decisions to live out a life of faith.
My story isn’t better. It’s not more dramatic. It’s not more worthy.
Guess what: neither is yours. Instead our stories are unique to each of us. We all get to travel a different path with God. That’s why faith is more like a journey than a set of blueprints.
So how do we prevent ourselves from having pride of faith? Well I think the answer lies in surrounding ourselves with other believers. By having real relationships with them where we listen to their stories and see how God moves in their lives. When we are serious about listening to other people’s stories, we can’t help but be humbled. It’s hard to be prideful when you can see that God doesn’t do unique stuff in just your life, but that he does amazing stuff in everyone’s life.
As I’ve listen to people tell me about their lives I constantly think, “there is no way I could have made that choice.” That puts a check on my pride. I realize that for all the challenges I’ve overcome there are an infinite variations of problems. And it is through God’s grace (literally) that we don’t have to experience them all.
Pride can’t withstand the humility that comes with being honest about your experiences. Or by seeing just how big God really is.