Week 6 Trust and Peace
Pride Robs Peace
The new holy nature we have, and which grows ever stronger as it abides in Christ the Vine, can love as He did. [i]
major roadblock to victory over sin is the idea that we possess at least some natural characteristics that are worthy and admirable. This idea of human goodness is so appealing that we don’t at first understand the travesty of it: if we are essentially good, then we don’t need a Savior. So long as we cling to the thought that we possess some intrinsic worth of our own, we will resist full submission to Christ: “But I’ve really been a pretty good parent,” or “I have always been kind to co-workers,” or… you fill in the blanks with some long held idea you possess about yourself. These illusions are dangerous because it is in areas we think we are strong that we are least likely to humbly depend on God’s help, and are thus most vulnerable to the enemy’s strategies against us. We balk at the thought that there is nothing good in us apart from Christ, and yet this is the understanding we must accept before we have hope of overcoming sin.
No one has ever been able to be free of sin apart from Christ. This is not a revolutionary thought; we accept the truth of Romans 3:23—“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Many of us know this passage by rote, but do we believe it at heart? In Paul’s day the words just preceding this verse were revolutionary and incendiary: “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile…” (Romans 3:22 NIV). Let’s personalize this for our day:
…there is no difference between the beggar in the Wal-mart parking lot and you.
…there is no difference between a drug addict and you.
…there is no difference between (fill in the blank here with the name of a person who has made your life difficult because of their many failings) and you.
Our particular set of transgressions may differ, but the stain of sin leaves the same mark on us all. If we balk at this statement, we need to come to the Lord and wrestle the issue out before Him until we can say, with St. Paul, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15).
The humility that follows our acceptance of the fallen state of all human beings relieves us of pride. We also are liberated from a sense of shocked injustice when other people sin against us as our perspective is changed from “I’ve been so wronged,” to “We’ve all been so wrong.” In our personal relationships we are freed from the misconception that “I don’t like who I am with him/her” is a sound basis for rejecting another human being. Who we are with a cup-half-empty grouch should be exactly the same as who we are with a more upbeat partner; a fellow sinner saved by grace. This acceptance that everyone is a mess, that all have sinned and fallen short, eliminates the idea that with someone else we could be a better person, or that a different person would be better suited to us. When our loved ones sin against us they need our prayers, not our rejection. Our Lord has never said, “Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself and distance yourself from those who make you uncomfortable.” His way is to stand firm in love even when we hurt Him, and because the Holy Son of God has remained steadfast for us, we can participate in His faithfulness and stay fully present in the lives of those He gives us to love.
Freedom from pride brings wonderful peace, the peace of humility. Humility allows us to be wronged and yet not sin in response to that wrong. This is the gift of our Savior, who remains steadfast in His love for us even as we cause Him pain. Let’s not wrong Him further by being exacting and demanding with those who have wronged us. Let’s forgive others in the same way He forgave so that we may participate in the freedom He purchased for us.
Pray: Lord, please free me of the pride that robs me of peace with my fellow human beings and with You. Help me to see what I am so that I can forgive others for what they are. Grant me your compassion toward people who are hurtful, and keep me from sin in response to their sin. Help me to respond with Your love, to see their hurt, to pray for them with compassion, and forgive them just as You have forgiven me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.
Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
Romans 15:7 NLT
[i] Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ, public domain