Sunday, May 31, 2009

Verse of the week - Proverbs 16:18

Funny how the simplest of interpretations somehow go unheeded.

The oft quoted, "Pride goes before destruction," has often left me both challenged and comforted in the thought that prideful people will get their due.

Like the time we went downhill skiing with an exchange student from Costa Rica. An arrogant skier came flying past laughing at her first struggling attempts to make it down the hill in one piece. Less than five seconds later he wiped out at a fairly non-dramatic turn. "Yep," I thought, "Pride goes before a fall."

I mentioned this to my husband and he queried, "Like Karma?" Okay, I guess I preferred thinking of it as God's righteous retribution, but, yeah, I guess like Karma . . . Probably not the best interpretation of Proverbs.

Kit Kittridge (how's that for a theological source?) opened my eyes to what is perhaps the more natural reading of this proverb. We are currently listening to the audio book of her adventures and her fictional experience during the Great Depression.

She walked along with her best friend past yet another pile of belongings at the curb from an evicted family. Ruthie questioned the necessity of hitting bottom in such a manner. "If they only asked for help from their friends and family." Kit responded saying maybe they were too proud. And Ruthie wisely answered, "And look where their pride got them."

Interesting. Built into the very essence of pride is destruction. When we haughtily declare "I can do this on my own" we take those steps away from the very ones that can prevent our downfall. When we put our shoulders back and refuse to admit defeat, we absorb another blow.

To earn respect you much stand up for yourself. After all, who else will? Put on a good show. Don't let them see you sweat. Tears show weakness. How many other mantras of our society promote this thinking? And, while we as Christians know the truth about Pride, it still poisons our thinking.

Proverbs 16:18 says, "Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling." In other verses Proverbs equates humility and honor. We so often reverse the two.

This also brought to mind a post along similar lines . . . avoiding the Supermom mendset. The body of Christ is made to work together. It would be silly for the hands to pridefully refuse the cooperation of the eyes. It would be self destructive for the feet to rush on without heeding the warnings ringing in the ears. God didn't design us to rely on ourselves, to function independently.

Lord, help me to recognize my needs and shortcomings as Your protection on my life. I want You to use me to my fullest potential, which includes knowing my role, and knowing when I need others to come alongside me. Please keep me from the harmful tainting of Pride. ~Amen

Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

~Proverbs 16:18~


amada said...

Scary thing, pride. We all have it, and yet Lord, may we be repentant of it! It is hard to catch in ourselves sometimes. CS Lewis said something in his book, Mere Christianity that has always stuck with me (although I will butcher the's the idea that counts :).
That thing that we so abhor in others is often what we struggle with? would see if we examine?... (that idea) in ourselves... something to that affect. I'll try to look it up... But pride is something so offensive to me when I see it lived out in others (NBA players, politicians, TV personalities, etc) it seems so blatantly evil. But I tend to overlook it in myself perhaps because it seems "innocent" and not so overt... perhaps because I am not conscious enough as yet of my own imperfections... O Christ, mold me!
I'm rambling. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog, it is encouraging to remember and think of you :)
tarapoto, peru

5intow said...

Good point, Amy. Back to the old plank vs. speck parable. So glaring in others, yet so rationalized in ourselves.

Thanks for highlighting that,