For if by the transgression of the one, the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many.
For those many who joined us on Ash Wednesday, you heard me speak of our reflection for this Season of Lent. Throughout this Lent we will delve into the problem of sin and use our study to set strategies that move us from self-centeredness and spiritual shortcoming to a life deep in line with the life of Jesus.
Throughout this Lent we will walk through the seven deadly sins and their antidote, the seven contrary virtues. We will study contemporary examples of sin in TV, film and literature. In studying, we will find what is required of us. In doing what is required we will grow stronger. Having grown stronger, we will walk out of Lent armed with Godâ€™s grace and we will overcome!
Pride. That word stands on its own as the first of the seven deadly sins. Indeed, pride alone is the root sin cause of all other sins. We see it in Genesis. Pride took hold of Adam and Eve and they decided they could do what they please without regard to Godâ€™s instruction. I am smarter than God, I am more powerful than God. I stand on my own, full of myself, believing only in my own abilities, and say thanks/no thanks to Godâ€™s grace.
Pride. Why do we do it. Why are we so full of ourselves? One individual wrote: â€˜We do it because our well-meaning elementary school teachers told us to believe in ourselves.â€™
If you have ever watched Gilliganâ€™s Island, pride was portrayed as the Professor – smarter than all and the source of all solutions. He didnâ€™t need anyone else. If you like SpongeBob, pride is Sandy the Squirrel. Sandy, from the Big State of Texas. She believes herself to be the best at everything from karate to extreme sports, and she boasts about it all.
St. Augustine wrote that pride changed angels into devils; and it is humility that makes men as angels. As we take inventory this first full week of Lent, let us consider the parts of our life where pride has taken root. The strategy is to chop at those roots with increased humility, to be other focused, to consider the other more important than myself, to do without seeking recognition, when recognized to be gracious, and to follow the example of Jesus who left the glory of heaven to teach us and die for us. Let us be genuine in humility and ask God to humble us all the more.