Sunday, June 7, 2009

Get back to the root of it all

One of the most humiliating experiences of my life was giving my persuasive in finals at the Virginia open in 2008. I was judged by not one, not two, but three Patrick Henry-attending NCFCA alumni. My speech was barely memorized. And I had no voice. When I tried to talk, my voice shifted between registers more often than the voice of a boy going through puberty, and I could not project at all. I left the room feeling about two feet tall and completely miserable. I sat next to my car in the parking lot for a little while feeling sorry for myself, and I wandered around the campus solo for the rest of the day. I had quite an entertaining pity party! Why? Because I can't stand looking pathetic and foolish. Because I'm prideful.

And the more I see of this world, the more I observe my family and friends and random strangers, the more I examine my own heart, it seems to me that pride is more basic and fundamental a part of sin than we realize a lot of times. A conclusion I came to after a conversation with Josiah at Regionals 2008 is that pride is really at the root of most sin. Maybe sin is pride at its most basic level. Consider murder, (thanks Katie) why do people commit murder? Cain kills Abel, the first murder. Why did Cain do it? Because God liked Abel's offering better, because Cain got hacked off that God found favor with his brother and not with him. Cain kills Abel out of pride, because Cain felt inferior to his brother, because he was focused on himself and his gift, and not his Creator. Even Adam and Eve, the first sin ever, was bred out of self-interest. 

And we've been hopelessly self-focused ever since. 

But that's the beauty of it, right? What is more amazing to a people whose essential flaw is self-absorption? Sacrifice. And what did Jesus do? Sacrifice, His life and His purity and His place in heaven. And what is love? Sacrifice, of our wants and insecurities and self. How contrary to the pride that fills out landscape - and how amazing. No matter how deep that pride runs, and believe me it runs deep, that is precisely the thing we beat down a little more each day, by the grace of the only One who never knew pride, but who came to set us free from it. That each day we die a little more to self, and live a little more in freedom. Pride and love at constant odds, but love will win. How amazing! 

1 comment:

K-Mac said...

you know, those little "like" buttons on Facebook have taken away the need for words to be formed in reaction to something.
Thus, I have no comment, but maybe a...thumbs up?