During my preteen years, my oldest brother retired from the Army. He lived out near March AFB so he went out there about every other week for groceries. One time, I went with him. I noticed a few places where they had painted large, and I mean large signs, “PRIDE.”
I was a little confused. I had always been taught that pride was a bad thing. Certainly, the Bible has many passages on the subject, none of them depicted it as being good.
To be sure, if pride is not the worst sin, it is close to it. God hates it because it frequently stands between God and men. Invariably, before man will accept Jesus as his savior, God must first deal with his pride.
However, there is another kind of pride. From the time I joined the Marines, it was drummed into my head continuously. This kind of pride drives us to do our best, even without anyone watching over our shoulder.
Yet, as good as this form of pride is, it can be bad too. Any time we think more of ourselves than we ought to, it is wrong and it can stand in the way, even in the military.
Many times, we should use the term, thankful instead of proud. To say that we are thankful for something is to admit that we didn’t earn it. It was something that we received. It is a form of humility.
For sure there are many things in my life that I am thankful for, including my country. Because I am thankful, I do what I can to remain a good citizen.
Pride, however, can lead us astray, and can make us hard to live with. Let’s take the story my father told me:
A man walked into a blacksmith’s shop as he was pounding on a piece of steel. On the floor, the visitor noticed a horseshoe and picked it up. Quickly, he dropped it.
The blacksmith glanced over his shoulder and said, “Kind of hot wasn’t it?”
The man folded his hands behind him and said, “Oh, no. I was just looking at it.
Laughing the blacksmith remarked, “Well, you sure let go of it in a hurry.”
This visitor thought for a second then replied, “Yeah. It doesn’t take me long to look at a horseshoe.”
Now what about the story makes it funny. We can all identify with it. While we might not have ever touched a hot horseshoe, there are things that we did. Then of course, when we suffered for it, we tried to pretend it was no big deal.
In the case of the visitor in the blacksmith shop, he might have blisters on his fingers. He might be in excruciating pain. However, he’ll never admit it. He will hide his pain even to the point of keeping the expression of pain off his face. It would cause too much damage to his pride, or maybe, in the modern vernacular, ego.
Pride is a monster that can hang around our necks and keep us from being what we could be. When it controls us, it stands in the way of admitting what we are, sinners, totally dependent on the mercy of God. It goes against our grain to admit it, but admitting it is one of the first steps to salvation.
And that is the reason God hates pride.