Today’s Special: Pride Drizzled with Self-Righteousness & A Side of Humble Pie

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is devouring a huge slice of Humble Pie after being pressured to apologize last week for writing a letter to President Biden in which the rise in passionate debate between parents and local school board members was characterized as potential forms of domestic terrorism.

The NSBA’s unfounded accusations had prompted U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to deploy an FBI-led task force to investigate alleged threats against school officials.

Yet, while testifying October 21 during a House Judiciary Committee hearing at the U.S. Capitol, Garland refuted accusations that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) was intent on labeling concerned parents as domestic terrorists even though a Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that the NSBA and DOJ had colluded on the now regretful letter.

Eat Your Heart Out

Merriam Webster defines humble pie as a “figurative serving of humiliation usually in the form of a forced submission, apology or retraction.” A literal rendering of this medieval recipe calls for a concoction of animal entrails, including the heart, liver and kidneys. Anyone agree that a side of Humble Pie should come standard with society’s main course of pride drizzled with self-righteousness? Sadly, true humility seems to have been omitted from life’s recipe of main ingredients in the 21st Century and replaced with empty-calorie woke virtue signaling.

Now, more than ever, King Solomon’s admonition in Proverbs Chapter 16 and verses 18 & 25 provide a timely warning: “18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. … 25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

Sin’s Main Ingredient

Pride is the primary ingredient of sin. You might say that disobeying God is fundamentally the result of choosing our recipe over His. Pride is a rotten attitude of the heart out of which all our sinful choices flow. When we are prideful, our perspective is inwardly focused and self-serving. It’s been said that an acronym for SIN is: Self-Indulgence Now. The first sin committed in the Garden of Eden was rooted in pride. Eve and Adam chose to eat of the forbidden fruit because the serpent seduced them with a lie that they would become wise like God. Let’s not forget the Bible teaches that Satan was an angel in Heaven before God cast him out for longing to usurp His authority.

Pre-packaged Pride of Life

On one end of the pride spectrum is an aspirational pride that drives people on a quest for perfection and superiority. On the opposite end of the spectrum is self-loathing pride that rejects God’s ascribed value to the pinnacle of His creation. Everyone, regardless of one’s position in life, must navigate the land mines of pride. When King Solomon writes in Proverbs 16 that pride goes before a fall, he is describing an arrogant independent spirit that projects a false sense of security or invulnerability to weakness. He warns us that pride believes our own strength, knowledge and resources are more than sufficient.

But knowing that we are pre-packaged to be full of ourselves, Jesus, the Master Chef, teaches us to deconcentrate our self-centeredness, by making it less about ourselves and more about His glory. King Solomon wisely observes that while our ways may seem right to us, they often are nothing more than a maze of dead ends. Consequently, we should not “follow our instincts” but instead prayerfully pursue God’s purposes in His Word and trust that His ways are infinitely better than our ways.

On the other end of the pride spectrum—180 degrees in the opposite direction of egomania—is a feeling of worthlessness. It may seem counterintuitive to think that thinking less of yourself is rooted in pride. Low self-esteem, however, is often born out of a person’s estimation of himself or herself apart from God’s perspective. It’s never good to allow anyone, including yourself, to define your self-worth by any measure other than God’s standards. Your enemy, Satan, schemes relentlessly to lure you along his path of futile pursuits of self-love and acceptance. He reminds you often of your past failures and hurts.

You Are A Masterpiece

Yet, when others’ opinions supersede God’s thoughts of you, then you are thinking more highly of others than God. Fact is you are a one-of-a-kind, limited edition masterpiece. There is not another human being like you among the 7 billion others on the planet. You’re not just another face in the crowd; you were created on purpose with a purpose—to do good works that God planned for you before you were born. Like a priceless work of art, your value comes from your Creator. A painting of a cypress tree in the middle of green wheat field might be just another painting, but add the artist’s signature—Vincent Van Gogh—and suddenly the painting is a collector’s piece. When God created you in His image, your value rocketed to the Heavens. Who you are is defined by whose you are.

And God wasn’t satisfied with just being your Creator. He also longs to be your Heavenly Father. That’s why He spared nothing—not even the life of His Son—to redeem you from just being a Social Security number to being a child of the One True King. As it says in Psalm 111:9, “He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!” Your value to God never diminishes or fades. His love for you was established forever in Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

The Master Chef

 In the very next verse, the Psalmist adds that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This not some kind of cowering fear but instead a reverential fear based in awe and wonder. It’s a recognition that God has the final say on who you are and ultimate veto power over dissenting opinions from anyone, anywhere, anytime. To dismiss or ignore this reality is foolishly thinking that you or someone else is wiser than God.

Genesis, the first book of the Bible, describes you and me as God’s image bearers: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). As God’s image bearers, we have a sense of morality, rationality and spirituality unlike anything else God has created. As image bearers of God, we share His likeness in that we have a soul and spirit that will live for eternity. He created humans exclusively with a God-shaped void that can only be filled through an intimate and personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.

As the Apostle Paul describes in Colossians 3:10, we “have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross restores us as God’s image bearers undefiled by a sinful world. When we understand our identity as God’s masterpieces and image-bearers of the Creator, we reject the pride of self-sufficiency and self-loathing because we know we can do nothing to merit or forfeit God’s unconditional love (Read Romans Chapter 8).

Will you be God’s servant?

Consider Jesus’ example of humility. He left Heaven to become like us, except without sin. But that was just the beginning. While living among sinful human beings, He didn’t seek credit for His many great works, profound teaching or mind-blowing miracles. When His supernatural wisdom and abilities were on display, Jesus always said He was simply obeying His Father—speaking words His Father gave Him and doing the works His Father prepared for Him to do. I believe that humility is the most Christ-like trait a person can possess. It’s highly unlikely you will ever walk on water or heal the sick, blind, lame or deaf, but by God’s grace, you can humbly serve others and share the love of Christ—not for your glory but His.


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