The Sin of Pride
“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:26
There is a person in my life who, I’m ashamed to say, has not often been the recipient of forthright forgiveness from me. Just as I think I’m getting over one thing, something else happens to set my anger flaring once again. I will be the first to admit that it is not a righteous anger. It is often a selfish anger that comes from feeling wronged, or a despising anger that comes from feeling right. And as I have sat back at times and reflected on resetting expectations and letting go of old hurts, I’m surprised to realize that I often don’t want to let go. It’s almost as if I enjoy my negative feelings. And there’s a part of me that relishes the self-righteousness feeling that goes hand-in-hand with my hard heartedness. Not altogether unlike a pig happily rolling around in the muck. But the question that remains is: why?
The best answer I have is: pride. To let go means I might have to admit to not being right. To change means admitting that my ways are not perfect, nor am I. And to set aside my negative feelings means letting go of my self-pity, which is just another form of pride. In fact, John MacArthur confirms my thoughts when he says, “Pride, I am convinced, is the primary reason most people refuse to forgive.”
If we fail to forgive, we remain unrepentant in the sin of pride. What then shall be the antithesis of this sin? How do we repent from it, when so often it is extremely difficult to put our own hurts aside and give the other person grace when they seem so undeserving? Jesus gives us the answer: humility. Andrew Murray captures it well, “Christ is the humility of God embodied in human nature; the Eternal Love humbling itself, clothing itself in the garb of meekness and gentleness, to win and serve and save us.”
CS Lewis—who calls pride “The Great Sin”—says this, “It is comparison [to others] that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.” Can you imagine? As humility personified, Jesus did not see himself as better or above any other!
“Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself Nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He Humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8
If Jesus did not put himself above any other, then surely we—as we are ever transformed into his image—should be able to set aside the pleasure of our own pride in thinking we are better or above anyone else. When we offer forgiveness, it is not in obedience or submission to the person needing forgiving, but in obedience to Christ, whom we love and who gives us the ultimate example of forgiveness and humility.
“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12
by Siara Borning