A lady was trying to impress guests at a party. “My family’s ancestry is very old,” she said. “It dates back to the days of King John of England.”
Then, turning to a lady sitting quietly in a cor- ner, she asked condescendingly, “How old is your family, my dear?
“Well,” said the woman with a quiet smile, “I can’t really say. All our family records were lost in the flood.” Noah did not keep them.
Talk about pride and boasting. Now here’s a true story.
Early in the Civil War, when the Union armies were suffering repeated defeats, Abraham Lincoln was discussing the war situation with his cabinet.
“How many men do you estimate are in the Confederate army?” a cabinet member asked.
“About a million and a half,” Lincoln replied.
“That many?” said another member. “I thought the number was considerably less.”
“So did I,” Lincoln said. “But every time one of our generals loses a battle, he insists that he was out- numbered three to one—and we have about 500,000 men.
Well many a people have lost their battles. Many a businessmen have failed. Many a family broken. Many a friendship destroyed and many a broken heart could not be mended.
Why? Because they are imprisoned. Imprisoned where? Imprisoned in pride.
Listen to what Max Lucado has to say about pride:
A prison of pride is filled with self-made men and women determined to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps even if they land on their rear ends. It doesn’t matter what they did or to whom they did it, or where they end up; it only matters that “I did it my way.”
You’ve seen the prisoners. You’ve seen the alcoholic who won’t admit his drinking problem. You’ve seen the woman who refuses to talk to anyone about her fears. You’ve seen the businessman who ada- mantly rejects help, even when his dreams are falling apart.
Perhaps to see such a prisoner all you have to do is look in the mirror.
“If we confess our sins...” The biggest word in Scriptures just might be that two letter one, if. For confessing sins—admitting failure—is exactly what prisoners of pride refuse to do.
“Well, I may not be perfect, but I’m better than Hitler and certainly kinder than Idi Amin!”
“Me a sinner? Oh, sure, I get rowdy every so often, but I’m a pretty good ol’ boy.”
“Listen, I’m just as good as the next guy. I pay my taxes. I coach the Little League team. I even make donations to Red Cross. Why, God’s probably proud to have someone like me on his team.”
Justification. Rationalization. Comparison. These are the tools of the jailbird. They sound good. They sound familiar. They even sound American. But in the kingdom, they sound hollow.
When you get to the point of sorrow for your sins, when you admit that you have no other option but to cast all your cares on him, and when there is truly no other one that you can call, then cast all your cares on him, for he is waiting.*
Nothing imprisons more than pride. Maybe because the inner being is so empty, it has got to be filled with boasting. But when one enters a personal relationship with Christ then God fills that void and humility comes.
The question now is this: Are you out of prison or are you in?
*From The Applause of Heaven by Max Lucado
Print ed: 09/11