Pride and Destruction

Dec 11, 2016
By: Jerry A. Goodson
In: Faith

After the terrorists attacks on September 11,2001, a vast demand for tactical training swept the nation for those in the military, law enforcement, and even adept civilian marksmen.  Personally, I took a lot of that training.  Early instructors generally believed they didn't teach a way, but rather the way.  When competition began growing fierce, many instructors, who regularly cross-trained with other instructors, started putting their egos aside and realized all they had to offer to their students was another proverbial "tool in the toolbox."  In one class, the instructor popped off with a cliche that I have reflected on ever since...

"Never get in a mindset and stay there."

It wasn't the main point of the training, it was an augment to encourage us students to keep from getting bogged down on a detail.  It was probably the best advice I've ever heard.  Why?  Because upon reflection of that simple cliche, I've been able to apply it to so many aspects of my life beyond just the tactical.

What about faith?  

Faith is one of the hardest subjects to discuss and understand between believers and non-believers.  It's real easy to pop off with what I know and believe to be the truth that the unbeliever will only change his or her mind upon conviction from the Holy Spirit.  It's just as easy for the non-believer to dispute that, as neither of us have hard concrete proof either way.  That is, unless that conviction occurs and the non-believer is converted.  

Through experience, I found it is more difficult to discuss things with non-believers with higher intelligence.  I am referring to those who are well-read and well-informed of not just Christianity, but other world religions as well.  

How do you tell those folks about Christ when they know more about His word than you do?

Jeremiah 9:23-24
23 Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;
24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD.

There is an answer, it's just not an easy one.  Knowledge and wisdom aren't always synonymous.  

Don't believe me?  I could tell you the story of an acquaintance of mine who not only earned a Ph.D., but worked for years as part of a reputable and nationally recognized think tank.  Several years ago, we were meeting for a project, and his car was making a squealing and grinding noise as he pulled into the parking lot.  When I mentioned it t him, he complained about the annoyance, but didn't think anything was really wrong with his car beyond the noise.  When I mentioned I could replace his brake shoes for him, he first had a puzzled look, then admitted that he didn't figure worn brakes was the cause of the problem.  He simply thought his wheels needed grease.

My Ph.D. associate could solve unimaginable equations, but lacked a bit in the common sense department.  Knowledge does not necessarily equal wisdom.  It's worse when vast knowledge is possessed in absence of rationality.  There are some highly intelligent people who truly believe the Earth is flat.  There is no punchline, and that is not a joke.

Matters of Pride

Sin is what separates man from God.  If I could pinpoint a single sin that separates man from God the most, it would probably be pride.

We are generally well aware of the positive connotation of the word, and dismiss the negative with a very narrow application.  The proverbial "hard head" is synonymous to a "hard heart."  This matter applies equally to both believers and non-believers--as much as it does with political discussions between liberals and conservatives.

Recently, I was having an online political "discussion" with a friend of mine who has an opposing viewpoint.  In that discussion, I admitted, "I, too, have issues with pride."  That admission was met with flat denial issues with pride existed anywhere other than on my end.

Those of us who engage in such discussions become so deeply entrenched in our own beliefs that changing our own minds is not an option.  That would mean defeat.  We MUST get our adversary to change his or her mind.  Even if we don't succeed on that front, we can still feel a small sense of victory they were not able to get us to change our mind.

I grew up hearing my mom paraphrase Proverbs 16:18 as "pride goes before the fall."  I always dismissed it as pride meaning conceit, but the negative connotation doesn't stop there... and neither does that verse.  

Proverbs 16:18
18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. 

As I continue my struggle with pride, I keep reading His word.  The references and cross references are numerous, and will keep me occupied for quite a while.  I would encourage anybody reading this post to this point to evaluate and re-evaluate how pride has affected their relationship with God.    I know mine has affected not only my relationship with God, but with some of my family, as well.

Damn pride.

Next page: About Me