Let me start by saying that this is not a fun post. It’s heavy. This topic has been heavy on my heart for quite some time. Yesterday, the thoughts could not be stopped and I made a few notes between appointments with my mom.
The consequences of pride and selfishness are some of the most harmful I’ve ever seen. Yet we as Christians seem to glaze over them and not consider those sins as “sinful” as others might be. But the decay of relationship over years of rotten, unchecked habits is destroying the root of our society…our families.
There can be both positive and negative connotations of pride. It is good to take pride in your work, children, family, hobbies, etc. (ie. pleasure, joy, delight, gratification, fulfillment…). But pride out of control is defined as having an excessively high opinion of oneself, of one’s importance: “the sin of pride” (ie. arrogance, vanity, self-importance, hubris, conceit…).
The Bible has much to say about pride. This is just a bit.
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches.”
“To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior
and perverse speech.”
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
“Where there is strife, there is pride,
but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment,
in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”
1 Corinthians 13:4
The definition of selfishness is one who is devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc, regardless of others…characterizied by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself (ie. self-interested, self-seeking, egotistical, self-centered, self-indulgent, mean, narcissistic).
God’s Word also has a great deal to say on this subject.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,
there is disorder and every evil thing.”
“and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves,
but for him who died and rose again on their behalf.”
2 Corinthians 5:15
“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
“(Love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.”
1 Corinthians 13:5
It would seem that with so much being written and taught about these two topics that they would not be as dismissed as they seem to be. People don’t seem to consider these issues to be as serious as other more flagrant sins. But what do these two do within a relationship or within a family? What happens when a person consistently focuses on him or herself rather than their spouse and/or children? How many weddings have you attended where the preacher has recited the words of 1 Corinthians 13? “…Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….” Such a beautiful day. So many hopes and promises. Then you go home and discover that just maybe one of you didn’t get the memo! But love suffers long, so you wait and pray and hope and keep no record of wrongs. You protect and trust and hope, but it doesn’t change. And little by little, you lose the person you once were. Becoming…self-protective, artificial, empty, busy. Until, no more. But the cycle continues because sin gives birth and is reborn.
Who will break the cycle? Who will speak up? Who will mentor? Who will guide?
“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger…. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity….”
I am very thankful for my sweetheart and for his patient kindness and servant heart. He is one of the most thoughtful and giving men I’ve ever known. I have a couple of cousins who are blessed to be married to men such as him. It does not make life perfect. Waves still crash upon our shore. But when a couple has a mutual giving, selfless, serving relationship, beautiful things happen to your heart.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
If they only understood.