Reflections of a Broken Man


On The Tragedy of Humanity – Part 3: Impaled by Human Pride by StephenMac
July 23, 2009, 12:17 pm
Filed under: Reflections

**Currently listening to Dismantle. Repair. (Acoustic) by Anberlin**

In the words of MPJ: For all their created nobility, human beings are tragic figures, impaled on their own pride.

That we are tragic figures stems from the fact that we are impaled by our own pride. A striking image, impaling was the form of execution used by the Assyrians, where a large, sometimes sharpened pole was hoisted into the air, with the victim sitting on top and left to slide down the pole: the pole itself slowly and excruciatingly pushing its way through the person’s insides. Not the most pleasant way to go.

Pride is like this: it is a slow and painful death. The tragedy is that it is a death of our own making. It is our own pride that ruined our created nobility: we were not content to be like God and subservient to him, but we sought to be God, equal to him. Pride is the looking out for number one, pride is the desire to be the centre of the universe, pride is thinking that we’re OK the way that we are. And it is this pride that is our own downfall. It is pride that makes us tragic figures, and tarnishes our created nobility.

Pride impales all men, Christian and non-Christian alike. If you don’t have Christ as your King and your Saviour, you naturally think you’re OK on your own. You have no need for anyone else, much less any need for God. Pride is saying that you’ll be OK on your own, even if you’re not… The rebuke of Jesus is that you’re not alright, and that one day, you’ll stand before God, and you’ll have to answer the question “Why should I let you into heaven?” If you immediately answer, “Because I…” you are placing your trust in yourself – this is pride.
Jesus’ answer is that you need to say “Because Jesus… died for me, loves me, forgave me” My trust must be in him. This is humility, the opposite of pride. Humility is placing others before you, most importantly, putting Jesus number one. In Mark, he rebukes Peter for pride: “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (8:33) Peter’s error is pride, thinking along human terms, and not thinking according to God’s plan. Who do you place your trust in?

Pride affects Christians too. In one sense, we deny grace, but wanting to contribute, even a small part, to our salvation. We know Jesus did it all, we know that he died for us, and that we no longer suffer punishment. But so often, we want to pay God back in good works, prayer, turning up to church, youth group, bible study, etc. We still try to pay off our debt… we are still motivated by pride. The cross is a rebuke: we can’t do anything at all to pay back God’s grace… it’s him and only him in our salvation.

Pride affects our attitude to our brothers and sisters. This week at college, we’ve been learning about the persecuted church. The rebuke has been that we in the west are content in our comfort, and are guilty of neglecting those of us who are suffering persecution. Pride is what keeps us insular and inward focused. Pride is what stops us thinking about others who are less fortunate than us. Pride is what gives us a false attitude of moral superiority.

What we need is humility. We can’t do that on our own:

Anberlin:
Dismantle me down! Repair!
(Dismantle. Repair.)

John Donne:
Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
(Batter my heart, three-personed God)

God:
24 ” ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:24-27)

EBHG

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