”And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged...Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” [Luke 7:40-47]
Pride rears its ugly head in our lives from time to time. It is easy to think that we are good or, at least, better than some. It is easy to measure ourselves against people that we consider worse off, then we don’t look so bad.
One of the worst things about pride is that it drains our love for the Lord without us realizing it. Bit by bit Jesus is pushed from the throne of our hearts and self begins to take His place. We don’t even notice it is happening. Pride is the silent killer of spiritual relationships.
What is one of the warning signs of pride? We are beginning to get into trouble when we think we have good in and of ourselves. The fact is, before God, I do nothing right. Even when I think I’m doing right I end up doing wrong. How God could love and make beauty out of a corrupted, sin-blasted human being is one of the mysteries of God. [Some of you are probably wondering how big of a sinner I was:)] And yet He takes this dark, shrinking, sulking shadow and turns him into a son of God.
Then what happens? After a while the temptation to pride begins. “I’m not so bad after all...look how far I have come...I have given a lot to God [or up for God]...I’ve got it made now...God made a wise choice when He choose me...” We may not say it in so many words, but the feelings begin to arise - that in itself is temptation not sin, the sin is if we indulge and begin to believe the feeling.
In some ways this temptation of pride hits those who have lived “good” lives and not been involved in gross sin the hardest. Those who the Lord has delivered from gross sin can see dramatically the horrors they were saved from. They know they were forgiven much, so they love much. Those of us who have been basically “good people,” sometimes have too good of an opinion of ourselves and so think we have been forgiven little. We can tend to love little.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. The Truth is, no matter what our lifestyle was before we were saved, we were all totally corrupt, rebellious creatures who hated God. All equally guilty before the Creator. All equally, desperately needing the grace of God and not deserving one drop of it. We have all been forgiven far much more than we realize. We can all love much.
If you read the lives of great men and women of God, you will discover many of them grew in a healthy awareness of sin. I do not mean that they were preoccupied with sin [that is the opposite temptation!] but that as they grew closer to the Lord they began to realize more and more the things which displeased Him. They could then take it to the Lord, receive His forgiveness, and grow closer to Him. Because of that they had a greater appreciation for the grace of God and greater love for God.
We need to avoid the equal but opposite temptations of a] thinking that we are good in ourselves, and b] focusing on sin. We do not need to spend a lot of time thinking about sin. As we grow in our relationship with God we will become more aware of those things which displease Him. At the time He brings it to our awareness, we need to get forgiveness and move on. If we stumble and fall, we do not lie in the mud in self-pity and condemnation, but we get forgiveness and move on. We can all develop an increasing love for God, for we have all been forgiven much. If we start to think we’re “OK” in ourselves, then watch out!
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