Saturday, May 17, 2014

Pride and Prejudice

Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father.  

--  1 John 2:16

According to Proverbs 16:18, "Pride comes before disaster, and arrogance before a fall." And this is true for both people and organizations. For example, you've probably heard of Microsoft Word, the popular word processing software found on millions of personal computers and other devices around the world. But what about WordPerfect? Back in the 1980s and early '90s, it was the dominant word processor until Microsoft introduced its game-changing Windows 95 operating system.
WordPerfect, which operated on the old DOS operating system, suddenly became obsolete. And although subsequent Windows-based versions of the software were released, there were still compatibility issues. Microsoft Word eventually overthrew the once-invincible WordPerfect. And in 1996, Norvell--WordPerfect's owner--sold WordPerfect for only 10% of what it had paid just two years earlier. 

This multi-million-dollar loss was, to say the least, a disturbing reality check for Norvell. Its management of WordPerfect and the employees who created it is a textbook example of corporate pride and arrogance. Likewise, Christ-followers must understand that pride can hurt us badly if we overlook it and take things for granted.

At pride's root is our love of the world's values rather than our devotion to God. And pride happens to be a disease with some nasty side effects. One symptom is farsightedness. That's because we tend to see it in others but not in ourselves. Our heads then grow and our minds shrink. And eventually, we reach the point where we actually think we're strong and smart enough to do it all-- and all while forgetting that God is the only true power and source of our success. We become arrogant, vain, stubborn and defensive. And we may even develop a strange sense of satisfaction when others, often our closest friends, face difficulties or tragedies in their lives.

These painful symptoms can last for days or even years. But we'll eventually reach the point where God lets us crumble and fall flat after some unforeseen situation or circumstance. It's the pride before the fall. And it's only when we're struggling helplessly in the debris that we finally regain our senses and return to our Creator.

Like the common cold, we're all bound to catch the pride bug every once in a while. So what's the best way to battle the illness once it's set in? First, the remedy doesn't call for adopting an artificially low self-esteem or a terminal woe-is-me attitude. Instead, we'll heal by replacing deceptive self-confidence with reliable Christ confidence. The prescription is to always put God first in our lives and remember that we can do nothing without Him. Always give Him the credit for your blessings and successes. Help others through their struggles. And then remember that God chooses and uses humble people to do great things in the world.

The Bible sums it up with some solid advice: "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up."

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