By Paul Witkop –

There is something inside of you and something inside of me that might need to be diminished. It can keep you from celebrating other people’s success. It can keep you from asking for forgiveness when you are wrong or even when you think you are only a little bit wrong. It. keeps you from admitting that you need help even though everyone else knows that you don’t know what you are doing. It causes you to try to have the final word

The answer is, pride.

There is a healthy version of this thing called pride. It is when you are proud of your kids or your students. This healthier version of pride can inspires people to do great things.

Here is the thing about the uglier pride. We are under the impression that it makes us look bigger and more impressive. The opposite is true. It is a strong emotionally driven force that keeps us from thinking clearly because it pushes to win at all costs. People are uncomfortable around us and they walk on eggshells waiting for our prideful eruptions. It inhibits our ability to love because when we are so full of ourselves, that there is no room for anyone else. The ironic thing is that everyone else sees it but us. It is insidious.

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! – Romans 12:16

Jesus taught a radically different way to live. He redefined greatness. He said that greatness was not about puffing ourselves up. It is not about how many people we have serving us. Greatness, according to God’s economy, is serving others. To teach this principle, Jesus served his friends by performing the most menial task one could imagine. He washed their dusty, dirty, smelly feet. He told them, “You have seen me, your teacher, doing it, now go out and break the power of pride by doing the same thing. Live like this.” Then he humbled himself even more by dying on the cross to pay the price for our sinfulness. He was entitled to much better treatment but he made the decision to humble himself. He knew that the most powerful force in the world is love…that is not proud.

Our emotions will tell us to find any reason to not apologize, to now lower our guard, or to ever admit we could be wrong. That is called slavery.

Jesus gives us the opportunity to be free from that kind of slavery, to break its hold on us. He challenges us to break pride’s hold in our lives by apologizing even if you don’t feel like it, by complementing someone on a job well done, or by even asking for help and admitting we need others in our lives. We can say “no” to a force that wants to decimate our connections with others and “yes” to Jesus who wants to take our relationships to a new level of greatness. Hand over the controls of your life to the one who has your best in mind and live in a new sense of greatness and freedom.

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