Home » Central District News, District Presidents, Headline

The Sin of Pride

November 15, 2016 No Comment

by Thomas Prachar

President Thomas Prachar

President Thomas Prachar

In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis devotes a section to Christian behaviour. One chapter of this section is entitled “The Great Sin.” He writes: “There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which everyone in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else…. I have heard people admit that they are bad-tempered… or even that they are cowards. I do not think I have ever heard anyone who was not a Christian accuse himself of this vice…. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.”

What is “the great sin” Lewis is describing here? Hatred? Lust? Envy? Greed? Revenge? If you guessed pride, you’re right.

We are not talking here about pride in the sense of “self-esteem.” It is healthy to feel good about yourself for a job well done. But too much pride can put one on a slippery slope where your ego expands to unhealthy proportions—leaving God out of the picture altogether. That kind of pride is a sin from which none of us is exempt.

Too much pride can put one on a slippery slope where your ego expands to unhealthy proportions—leaving God out of the picture altogether. That kind of pride is a sin from which none of us is exempt.

Holy Scripture tells us that “pride goes before the fall.” There is an old fable about two ducks and a frog who lived in a farmer’s pond. The ducks and the frog were the best of friends; they played together all day long. But when the hot summer days came and the pond began to dry up, the ducks realized that they would have to move. They could easily fly away to another place, but what about their friend, the frog? So, the three friends decided that the ducks would put a stick between them holding each end in their bills, while the frog hung on to the stick by his mouth. With this arrangement the three friends set out for another pond. As they were flying, the farmer saw them and said, “How clever is that! Now there’s something you don’t see every day! I wonder who thought of that?” To which the frog cried out, “I did!” And that was the end of the frog. Here, pride literally went before the fall!

It is to such sinfully proud people like you and me that our Saviour Jesus lovingly reaches down, strips away our sinful pride, and washes us clean of all our sin. He faced the punishment for all our arrogance and pride when He willingly suffered and died on the cross. Jesus showed the very opposite of pride when “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). As a result of His innocent suffering and atoning death, we are cleansed of our sin. By His resurrection from the dead He guarantees to all who believe in Him an invitation to God’s eternal banquet in the kingdom of heaven. We do not deserve such an honoured position. We cannot earn it. But we are invited purely on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus our Saviour. Our King has made us worthy to join Him in the banquet halls of heaven by means of His death and resurrection.

As we begin another day of service to Christ and His Church, we do so with all humility and say with the hymn writer: “Nothing in my hand I bring; Simply to Thy cross I cling” (LSB 761, v.3).

———————

Rev. Thomas Prachar is President of the Central District of Lutheran Church–Canada.