Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Shallow Pride Versus God's Infinite Love and Grace...

I sometimes feel like I should have a word of the week because it seems like every week, I have a word that is just branded into my mind. Most of the time, the words could be considered ridiculous, and sometimes they could be considered “phrases” (i.e. “monkey bum”) as opposed to actual words. But every once in awhile, a word will come to me that actually has some meaning to it. These are the words that I ponder over all week long. This week’s word was the pondering type of word: pride.
Needless to say, the reason that pride is the word that currently haunts my mind is because I am guilty of it… and the rest of humanity follows right behind. The simple fact is that pride is almost as much a part of people as DNA. We are all prideful at some point in our lives (for most of us it is much more than a one time experience), and it is that fact that has me pondering.
It also makes me rather remorseful because of all the sins that we could be guilty of, we are most guilty of what C.S. Lewis calls the “great sin”. He calls it this because pride is at the root of almost all other sins. The act of sinning, itself, is prideful. When we sin, we are basically telling God that we are more important than Him. That may sound like an exaggeration, but it isn’t. God tells us to not sin for our own sake. Sin separates us from God. Sin separates us from the only thing that can fill our emptiness. By knowingly sinning, we are looking God in the face and saying, “I don’t want to do it Your way. I want to do it my way.” This is terribly dangerous ground to walk upon.
But just yesterday, I began thinking about another aspect of pride. I began to wonder what makes humans so prideful. So I began my investigation by studying the human that I know best… me. Here are some of what I thought are my best qualities (for surely there will be at least one that will give my pride reason):
I am mildly funny, but mostly at night, when everyone is tired and will laugh at anything. I am fairly intelligent… perhaps slightly above average. I love reading, but I am an incredibly slow reader (perhaps that is one of the reasons that I hate reading out loud). I love music, but I can’t play any instruments… well, I know how to play the piano, but I won’t apply myself to actually practicing. I have a decent singing voice, but nothing to be excited about. I am extremely introverted, but I force myself to be more extroverted… I don’t like people. I am pretty good at public speaking, but only when I know exactly what to say. I am decent a putting my thoughts down on paper, but my thoughts typically aren’t very good in the first place…
For some reason I don’t think that any of those personal aspects give me the qualifications that I need to deem myself more important than God. Instead, I must confess that my life holds no importance. I am merely one of more than six billion humans on this planet. Right now as you are reading this some of our fellow humans are dying. When they are gone very few will remember who they were. Their legacy will be lost. And sooner or later we will join them.
But, of course, there are people that are so widely known that when they die, their memory will live one in the minds of millions of people. If any human could claim to be important, surely it would be them.
From our point of view, the widely known may look very important (I mean, why wouldn’t they be…they have money and fame…), but the simple fact is that they aren’t. No one is. The universe is far too large for us to even begin to comprehend. It holds trillions of galaxies, and there are trillions of stars within each galaxy. Our sun is merely ONE of the trillions of stars in the universe. Each night we get the chance to go outside and look up at the stars. And when we look up at all of those stars, thinking about what’s out there, we feel small. But of the trillions of stars in the universe, we can only see around six thousand with our naked eyes. We will never be able to comprehend our own galaxy, let alone the universe.
We are so small and so fragile. The universe is so big, and we know almost nothing about it. I honestly don’t understand how any of us can possibly think that we are… anything.
But it isn’t all miserable and depressing because I believe that while we really aren’t worth anything, there is someone that thinks that we are. Luckily He is the only one that really counts.
As a Christian, I believe that God created the universe. He spoke, and things began to come together (and just to be clear, I really don’t care about the creation debates… God did it, whether he used evolution or not doesn’t matter to me). God’s words created the entire universe! God effortlessly created something so large that our minds could never even grasp it, so that would obviously tell us that God is much more powerful, mighty, and strong than we could ever imagine him being.
So if we are of virtually no importance and God is infinitely important, He surely must not care what happens to us, right?
For some reason, God does care about us. We know this because the Word of God not only tells it to us repeatedly, but it also tells us that God spoke everything into existence… except for us. God molded Adam from dust and then breathed His spirit into Adam.
But I believe that His great outpouring of love was when He came down to earth as a man to die for the people that He created. God is the only being that has the right to be proud, but instead, He chose to humble Himself because He wants to save us even though we often place ourselves before Him.
So I guess that I could really add another word to go along with pride: love.
God loves us much that He humbled Himself to save us… surely we can lay aside our pride and put the creator of the universe before ourselves.


Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 3:19