Monday, June 9, 2014

The Pride Of Self

I was able to hang out with a group of middle schoolers last week.  It was an good experience, and it was so interesting to me.  As I watched them, it became apparent to me that most of them were trying to get attention in some way.  Either attention from specific people in the group or even attention from the teachers by acting or doing something out of the ordinary or something they were not supposed to do.  I began to marvel at the behavior.  One would grab a hat and make their way to the front of the group making the hatless child follow them to retrieve it.  One would talk to his friend, but would talk loudly enough for the whole group to hear him.  Kids slid down banisters, and one ripped a paper when another child was writing on it. 

I am a strong proponent of the thought that a child (or an adult for that matter) does not continue in a behavior unless they are getting something out of it.  Why were they doing those things?  It was definitely for attention, but I came to realize that really it was pride of self. 

If they want the whole group to look at them and be captivated by what they are doing, it is pride of self.  No one in this group could be as important as they are.

Have I ever had pride of self?  Absolutely, let me count the ways.  Sometimes, when I make a good meal I find myself saying something like, "Boy, this is really a good meal."  Nathan will usually pipe up and say, "Mom, that is not very humble."  So, I am working on fixing the problem of praising my own cooking at the dinner table!

We all do it.  Maybe it is not sliding down a banister, but it can manifest itself in other forms.  How humbling it was to read a book that I just finished recently called Anonymous by Alicia Britt Chole.  If you would like an great summer read, this one is for you.

If there was anyone at any time in history who would have had every right to be prideful or pat themselves on the back, it would be Jesus.  He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He would have had every right to stand up and say, "Look at me!"  Instead, what we see in scripture time and time again is humility. 

Alicia Britt Chole talks in this book about the anonymous years Jesus has in the Bible for which there is not accounting.  However, her point in the book is that we can learn more during those years of anonymity than any other.  When Jesus makes his way down to the Jordan river to be baptized, he does not jump up and down and say, "Look at me.  I am the Messiah."  He could have said it, and it would have been true.  What really happens is that he goes down to the river and humbles himself as just another sinner which he wasn't.  That is our example.

This world desires that we make ourselves bigger.  The Bible says in  John 3:30 (NIV) that "He must become greater; I must become less."  It is a task that is not always easy to do, but it is exactly that to which we have been called.

"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Matthew 23:12

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