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When Pride Lingers After An Accident

There’s nothing innately wrong with being proud of something or someone. Pride can be a good thing. But we have to be careful with it because it can become very dangerous when it’s misplaced.

Well, I had been living dangerously and I didn’t even know it. I was placing pride in myself above anything else. On May 3, 2012, my self-pride took a big “hit,” and I mean that literally.

I was driving home after running a few errands in town when another driver ran a flashing red light, hitting my truck and pushing it into a concrete utility pole. My head then went through the driver’s side window and struck the pole, causing a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Though my life was spared, as a result of my TBI, I did “lose” much of what had made me me. So you would think my problem with self-pride would have been lost as well. It would be a thing of the past, taken care of once and for all. But it wasn’t. My self-pride may have been curbed somewhat but it never left completely. It would exit for awhile but never stay gone. It was always finding its way back. It wasn’t that long ago when my pride issue was starting to make one of its ugly returns. And the scary thing is I didn’t even know it was happening

During my most recent bout, I was focused on getting as many people as possible to hear the miraculous story God has written and is still writing for my life. I was spending a lot of my time and energy “promoting” myself on social media and other platforms. I was telling others about who I was, my story, my upcoming book, my speaking, and so on. I was becoming over-focused on myself.

As all of this self-absorption was taking place, I heard a very timely sermon where my pastor was teaching from the book of Ecclesiastes. That day, he focused on one particular verse: “Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise—why destroy yourself?” (Ecclesiastes 7:16)

I believe this warning also applies to self-pride and self-absorption, etc—the very attributes I was displaying.

I knew God was speaking directly to me. It wasn’t something I should take lightly, because it had the ability to destroy me. I was very grateful to be made aware of this, but now what? How was I supposed to combat overrighteousness and, thus, avoid being “destroyed”?

As I was sitting there pondering this question, our pastor led us to the New Testament and the book of Matthew. “But seek first his kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

 Now that was a very familiar verse to me. I had heard it many times before. But, as our pastor pointed out to us that day, there is a word tucked away within it that we tend to gloss over and overlook. But that single word was the answer to the question I was just asking myself. This one word, when taken to heart, gives us the ability to avoid being destroyed by our overrighteousness. This very powerful word is: His.

You see, our righteousness isn’t ours. It’s His. It belongs to Jesus. Every little bit of it. We haven’t anything to do with it. The only reason we can be called righteous is because of what Jesus has done for us. So anytime I start thinking too highly of myself or believing that I am in any way responsible for my righteousness, I need to remember the One who truly is.

Moving forward from here, I know I will need to promote my story, my upcoming book, my speaking, etc. I understand this is necessary if I want to people to hear the story God has written and is still writing in my life.  But when doing so, I have to remember that none of what I am claiming ownership over is actually mine. Not one bit of it. Because just like my righteousness, it all belongs to Jesus.

Should We Give Help but Not Receive it?

Written By Kim Cheung, China, originally in Simplified Chinese

During dinner some days ago, my father lamented about how times have changed. It used to be that bosses care about their workers even outside of work. When my grandfather worked at an architecture company, his manager would always visit the family every Lunar New Year, bringing some money along and asking if our family needed any form of help.

There was one time our family needed help building a house, and the manager sent some workers to help out. My grandfather initially refused this help. My dad shared that people back then often thought that accepting help would cause one to “lose face”.

I cannot help but think that nothing has changed today. Many people are willing to help others but unwilling to accept help.

Most of us have been brought up to give selflessly. A willing heart that gives selflessly, without expecting anything in return, is exceedingly noble. I used to think like that.  When I was in school, I would gladly help my classmates. However, it was very difficult for me to ask for help from others. This persisted even after I graduated. Many times, deep down inside me, I knew that I needed help. Yet I was unwilling to ask for it. In fact, when others actively lent a helping hand, I found it difficult to accept.

Should we encourage this behavior? Does God desire us to give help but not receive it?

God teaches us that we should carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). The Bible also reminds us that in Christ, we are all members of one body (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Helping each other involves two parties. If everyone refuses to accept help, who can we then help? How can we then live as a body of Christ?

 

Pride lies behind the refusal for help

God wants us to joyfully give and joyfully receive. So why is it that people find it so difficult to receive? If you ask me, the reason behind this difficulty is pride. Yes, you read that right.

We are often unwilling to admit our own weaknesses, and we are afraid that others may see them. In order to protect this fragile ego of ours, we refuse to accept help. I realized this around three years ago when I started thinking more deeply about the topic of giving and receiving. Looking back, I realized that my pride was my Achilles’ heel and the underlying reason I was unwilling to seek or accept help.

Trusting God is difficult when you refuse help

Giving without receiving makes it difficult to trust in God. God wants us to admit our utter brokenness so that we can completely cast our burdens on Him and trust in Him. The Apostle Paul said, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) How can we surrender and trust in God fully if we deny help and rely on ourselves completely? We cannot know God genuinely if we do not admit our brokenness.

I remember one time when I showed up for a fellowship gathering burdened with conflicted emotions. At the time, I was deeply fatigued and though I could hardly bear it, I put up a strong façade. When it was time to share, I planned on talking about minor things that did not matter. However, an inner voice reminded me that I needed to come before God in truth. Just like that, my defense was demolished. I cried my heart out in the presence of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I confessed that I needed help. I confessed that I was not the least bit strong.

I am deeply thankful that God broke me, allowed me to see the dangers of pride, and allowed me to be built up again in His truth through His community of believers. Now, I often come before God in my helpless state, crying for His help. I know that I have nothing. I can do nothing. If not for God’s strength, every step I take would be difficult.

I also seek help from fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Whenever I am feeling troubled by life, I not only ask them to pray for me, but also seek their advice. The love and help my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ have blessed me with has helped me to feel the faithfulness of God. I also deeply feel the close connections I have with other members of the body of Christ.

 

Joyful acceptance sets us free

When I lay down my pride, I can finally be free of my struggles. When I joyfully accept help, I experience brand new freedom. I admit that I have weaknesses and I am inadequate. It is only when I completely surrender that God can have full control over my life. When I obey His will, God can demonstrate His strength in my weakness.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, God wants you to have this freedom as well. Are you willing to lay down your pride that God may take control of your life?

ODB: Pride at the Core

“He thinks he’s really something!” That was my friend’s assessment of a fellow Christian we knew. We thought we saw in him a spirit of pride. We were saddened when we learned that he soon was caught in some serious misdeeds. By elevating himself, he had found nothing but trouble. We realized that could happen to us as well.

It can be easy to minimize the terrible sin of pride in our own hearts. The more we learn and the more success we enjoy, the more likely we are to think we’re “really something.” Pride is at the core of our nature.

In Scripture, Ezra is described as “a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses” (Ezra 7:6). King Artaxerxes appointed him to lead an expedition of Hebrew exiles back to Jerusalem. Ezra could have been a prime candidate to succumb to the sin of pride. Yet he didn’t. Ezra didn’t only know God’s law; he lived it.

After his arrival in Jerusalem, Ezra learned that Jewish men had married women who served other gods, defying God’s express directions (9:1-2). He tore his clothes in grief and prayed in heartfelt repentance (vv. 5-15). A higher purpose guided Ezra’s knowledge and position: his love for God and for His people. He prayed, “Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence” (v. 15).

Ezra understood the scope of their sins. But in humility he repented and trusted in the goodness of our forgiving God.

— Tim Gustafson

October 21, 2015 

READ: Ezra 9:1-9 

Ezra . . . was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses. Ezra 7:6

 

“He thinks he’s really something!” That was my friend’s assessment of a fellow Christian we knew. We thought we saw in him a spirit of pride. We were saddened when we learned that he soon was caught in some serious misdeeds. By elevating himself, he had found nothing but trouble. We realized that could happen to us as well.

It can be easy to minimize the terrible sin of pride in our own hearts. The more we learn and the more success we enjoy, the more likely we are to think we’re “really something.” Pride is at the core of our nature.

In Scripture, Ezra is described as “a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses” (Ezra 7:6). King Artaxerxes appointed him to lead an expedition of Hebrew exiles back to Jerusalem. Ezra could have been a prime candidate to succumb to the sin of pride. Yet he didn’t. Ezra didn’t only know God’s law; he lived it.

After his arrival in Jerusalem, Ezra learned that Jewish men had married women who served other gods, defying God’s express directions (9:1-2). He tore his clothes in grief and prayed in heartfelt repentance (vv. 5-15). A higher purpose guided Ezra’s knowledge and position: his love for God and for His people. He prayed, “Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence” (v. 15).

Ezra understood the scope of their sins. But in humility he repented and trusted in the goodness of our forgiving God. 

— Tim Gustafson

Lord, fill us with such a love for You that we think first of what will please You, not ourselves. Free us from the subtle captivity of our own pride.


Pride leads to every other vice: It is the complete anti-God state of mind. C. S. Lewis

 

ODB: The Two Bears

Some years ago, my wife, Carolyn, and I spent a few days camping on the flanks of Mount Rainier in Washington State. When we were returning to our campsite one evening, we saw in the middle of a meadow two male bears boxing each other’s ears. We stopped to watch.

There was a hiker nearby, and I asked him what the conflict was about. “A young female,” he said.

“Where is she?” I asked.

“Oh, she left about 20 minutes ago,” he chuckled. Thus, I gathered, the conflict at this point was not about the female bear but about being the toughest bear.

Most fights aren’t about policy and principle, or about right and wrong; they’re almost always about pride. The wise man of Proverbs swings his axe at the root of the problem when he writes: “Pride leads to conflict” (13:10 nlt). Quarrels are fueled by pride, by needing to be right, by wanting our way, or by defending our turf or our egos.

On the other side, wisdom resides with the well-advised—those who listen and learn, those who allow themselves to be instructed. There is wisdom in those who humble themselves—those who set aside their own selfish ambition; who acknowledge the limits of their own understanding; who listen to the other person’s point of view; who allow their own ideas to be corrected. This is the wisdom from God that spreads peace wherever it goes.

— David Roper

September 12, 2015 

READ: Proverbs 13:10-20 

Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. Proverbs 13:10

 

Some years ago, my wife, Carolyn, and I spent a few days camping on the flanks of Mount Rainier in Washington State. When we were returning to our campsite one evening, we saw in the middle of a meadow two male bears boxing each other’s ears. We stopped to watch.

There was a hiker nearby, and I asked him what the conflict was about. “A young female,” he said.

“Where is she?” I asked.

“Oh, she left about 20 minutes ago,” he chuckled. Thus, I gathered, the conflict at this point was not about the female bear but about being the toughest bear.

Most fights aren’t about policy and principle, or about right and wrong; they’re almost always about pride. The wise man of Proverbs swings his axe at the root of the problem when he writes: “Pride leads to conflict” (13:10 nlt). Quarrels are fueled by pride, by needing to be right, by wanting our way, or by defending our turf or our egos.

On the other side, wisdom resides with the well-advised—those who listen and learn, those who allow themselves to be instructed. There is wisdom in those who humble themselves—those who set aside their own selfish ambition; who acknowledge the limits of their own understanding; who listen to the other person’s point of view; who allow their own ideas to be corrected. This is the wisdom from God that spreads peace wherever it goes.

— David Roper

Dear heavenly Father, help me as I battle pride today. It’s so easy to take my eyes off You and focus on myself. Give me a humble heart.


Humility brings wisdom.