Black Pride

It is a terrible thing that the worst of all the vices can smuggle itself into the very centre of our religious life. But you can see why. The other, and less bad, vices come from the devil working on us through our animal nature. But this does not come through our animal nature at all. It comes direct from Hell. It is purely spiritual: consequently it is far more subtle and deadly… — CS Lewis on Pride

No, the title of this post is not in reference to any racial identity movement, but rather to what Lewis references in the above quote from his classic, Mere Christianity.

It is in reference to the sickening and soul-sucking sense of superiority one feels upon hearing the consequences that result from the poor choices of others.

Yesterday, our youth pastor (JB) came in from the bullpen and preached a stirring sermon on a familiar story, Jesus’ parable of the so-called prodigal son.

JB described the older son in the parable, who couldn’t bring himself to celebrate his younger brother’s return from the figurative dead, as the son who wanted nothing more than to please his dad, by abstaining from as many things as humanly possible. He followed the description by faux applause.

With this son, it was about externals, the easy way to perdition, as the unrepentant Pharisees Jesus scolded came to find out.

Personally, at this point in my A.D. life, I find myself more like the older son. As JB aptly observed, “maybe we have forgotten what it’s like without God.”

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Satan’s Pride

A recent post (not to mention newspaper headlines, newscasts, etc) What Is Wrong With People?, over at Texas Liberal prompted me to leave a comment there (link contains language).

Not only that but it recalled the words of South African pastor Andrew Murray (1828-1917) in his classic book, Humility:

[Eve’s] life and the life of the [human] race that sprang from her became corrupted to its very root with that most terrible of all sins and curses–Satan’s pride.

All the wretchedness of which this world has been the scene, all its wars and bloodshed among the nations, all its selfishness and suffering, all its vain ambitions and jealousies, all its broken hearts and embittered lives, with all its daily unhappiness, have their origin in what this cursed pride–our own or that of others–has brought upon us.

It is pride that made redemption necessary; it is from our pride that we need, above everything else, to be redeemed. And our insight into the need of redemption will largely depend upon our knowledge of the terrible nature of the power of pride that has entered our being.

Ironically enough, many who deny humanity’s need for redemption (much less the identity of the Only One through whom redemption is offered) and are perhaps even angered by the suggestion, are often the folks most upset with the ruined state this world has been in since the Fall.

Indeed, us human beings can be devilishly (and outside of God’s Grace) impossibly hard to please…

When Religion Makes One Feel Superior…

If you have been through this blog you’d realize that I deeply admire and have been blessed by the writings of one Clive Staples Lewis.

Perhaps my favorite book of his is Mere Christianity, which contains a few chapters which can stand alone as classics.

One of these titled, “The Great Sin”, is a treatise on pride and contains a number of riveting insights.

He describes Pride,

Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.

Also,

The Christians are right: it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken people or unchaste people.

But pride always means enmity–it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God.

Insightful to be sure and he goes on to say that pride can be a “death-trap” to Christians.

He describes such occasions,

Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good–above all, that we are better than someone else–I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil.

The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object.

It is better to forget about yourself altogether.