The Word of the Lord says we should love others as ourselves and that we should be examples and leaders. We are to be Christ like and we should strive to be a reflection of the love of God.
As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man. Proverbs 27:19
Only God knows everything on your heart. Man can not see your heart except by the words you speak and by your actions. As children of the Lord, our words and actions should be a reflection of the love God has for all people.
Many reflect the love of God in a true and sincere fashion because they truly appreciate the mercy the Lord has given to them. But unfortunately, not everyone reflects God’s love. Some only reflect love to chosen people and not all people, and some will even judge and condemn others for doing things when they, themselves do exactly the same thing.
“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5
Jesus is teaching that you can not judge the actions of another person, if you yourself are doing the same thing. You must first be willing to correct your own actions before you can help the other person see their wrong doing. He called these people hypocrites, pretending to be something they aren’t – exaggerating their own worth.
But it wasn’t until something happened recently that I realized that it is not that some don’t take this teaching to heart. It’s that they don’t see the log in their eye because they are blinded by something called pride.
The word pride in Greek is Huperephania (hoop-er-ay-fan-ee’-ah) and it means pride, haughtiness, arrogance; the character of one who, with a swollen estimate of his own powers or merits, looks down on others and even treats them with insolence and contempt. If you study the word fully, you will also see it means lacking in moral restraint, undisciplined, unruly and has insultingly contemptuous speech or conduct.
Not that they would admit it, but prideful people put themselves over others. They are also quick to point out the wrong doing in others, but rarely, if ever admit their own wrong doing. They also like to be in control so things will be done their way and not someone else’s way.
I have learned that there are different levels of pride. There is what I will call light cases, where people are able to see their wrong doing and admit it, if they are forced to look at themselves and there are the hard cases, where people will not admit their wrong doing or they will admit they did wrong but say it is someone else’s fault they did it.
An example of a light case of pride can be found in the story of the adulterous woman in John 8:1-11. It shows that the people were willing to judge her for her wrong doing saying that it was according to the law that she should be punished. But when Jesus said “Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone”, He made people look at themselves first. Each one saw that they also had some wrong doing in themselves and realized that they deserved to be punished just as much as the girl did. They were humbled and each one left, unable to judge her since they too were sinners. This is not a deep rooted pride, but one that can be corrected through instruction and love.
But God’s word also teaches of those who are more prideful, unwilling to admit their wrong doing. He also teaches that this pride has been around since the beginning. If you read Genesis 3:12-13, Adam said he ate the fruit because Eve gave it to him. Eve said she ate the fruit because she was deceived by the serpent. Both admitted to eating the fruit, but neither of them would take full responsibility for their own actions. Each one said I did wrong, but it was someone else’s fault.
The sad fact is that prideful people don’t see the error of their ways because they have haughty eyes. They refuse to admit, even believe, that they might be the ones who are doing wrong. This pride even causes people to not fully obey the voice of the Lord. They believe their way is better and put the blame on others even though they lead the way.
In 1 Samuel 15, Samuel went to anoint Saul as king over Israel and gave Saul instruction from the Lord on what he was to do. Saul however, decided to do things in his own way and did not follow the instruction which was given to him. God rejected him as king and sent Samuel to find David to anoint him as king. When I first read this I thought, wow… God had rejected someone because they made a mistake. A friend said God will forgive if they repent. But I did not see it, I saw rejection.
But as I read these scriptures through this time, I saw something I had not seen before. When Samuel approached Saul about why he did not follow what the Lord had said, at first, in verses 20 and 21 Saul said “I did obey the voice of the Lord, it was the people who took some of the spoil to sacrifice to God.” But after being rebuked by Samuel, in verse 24 Saul says “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice.”
Though Saul was leading the people, he says, yes I did wrong, but I just followed what the people said to do. Saul is attempting to shift the blame to someone other than himself, and refuses to sincerely admit his own wrong doing and take responsibility for his own actions. His pride is keeping him from truly repenting his sin.
When the time comes for you go stand before the Lord and account for your actions, He is not going to want to hear you say “I just followed along”. He already knows why you did it, He will just want you to drop the pride and be honest with Him.
Repentance must be sincere. It’s not the words that make the difference; it is what is in your heart.
We each have some level of pride in us. That is why it is so very important that we examine ourselves daily. We need to look at our actions, our words and our thoughts. We need to look deep into our hearts and be honest, not just with God, but with ourselves. Ask the question “Did I reflect God’s love in sincerity to all the people surrounding me today?” Then try to remember exactly how you acted toward each person, even the most annoying, rude and obnoxious ones. Remember how you treated them, not just while standing in front of them, but especially when you were away from them.
Ask yourself, “Did I follow the Word of God the way God wants me to, or did I do it my own way?”
Now ask God.
I just want to give you a little something to dwell on.
God shows just a smidgen of the depth of His love through the stories of Adam and Eve, and the story of Saul. Even knowing what each of their responses would be and even knowing what was on their hearts, God still gave each the opportunity to repent. He had hope that each of them would choose to do what is right and be forgiven.