A friend asked the question, “What sin is both hidden and silent?”
He continued: “It is deceptive; and it can drive a man to do almost anything -- to become wealthy, powerful, famous, or even religious. It can cause arguments and strife in our homes. Gossip often comes from it and even false accusations against others. It is more a state of mind than a sin that is committed; also this sin is hidden because it is the sin itself that prevents man from admitting it. It is like a vehicle without reverse. An individualist society like America thrives on this. This is a sin that YHVH hates -- it is an abomination to him.”
Read Proverbs 6:16-19 to find his answer: “It is the sin of PRIDE!”
The following is a true story that illustrates how pride can destroy lives.
Many years ago, there was a prideful woman whose tongue was very, very sharp, and she never refrained from speaking what she perceived to be the truth, whether to people’s faces or behind their backs – no matter how cutting and hurtful her words might be.
Then, there was her husband, kind and gentle, but not in control of his own home. He spoiled their only daughter and appeased his wife whenever he could in order to maintain peace.
They had only one child, their daughter, upon whom they both doted.
According to the mother, her daughter could do no wrong, while hardly anyone else ever did anything right! She criticized, criticized, criticized! No one was beyond her reach, not husband, members of her church, not even the pastor himself.
Her influence was vast, though I doubt that it was what she presumed it to be. Young people observed her behavior and thought, “If this is what it means to be a Christian, I don’t want any part of it!”
And consider the Jewish lady who responded to her friend, ‘Yes, I believe in Jesus, but do you think I could ever join a church where Mrs. XXX is a member?”
Time passed and the daughter reached adulthood. Her father died and she became a professor at a well-known university. How proud her mother was of her, never ceasing to brag about how smart she was.
Then came the day when the daughter was fired because of alcoholism. She also entered into a lesbian lifestyle, but alcoholism was the reason given for the termination of her employment by the university.
She returned home, sinking ever deeper into her problems. The neighbors talked about how she would come out to get the morning paper, dirty and rumpled, hair uncombed, with vomit soiling the front of her blouse.
These events changed Mrs. XXX – not that she repented and softened, but she was so embarrassed that she never again left her house until her death.
The daughter continued to live in her parents’ home until one day the neighbors noticed that the newspapers were not being picked up, so they concluded that something must be wrong. There was no answer to the doorbell, so they discussed what they should do. They checked all the windows and found that the bathroom window was open, so they got a ladder and set it beneath the window, but they did not go inside. They said they could smell the foul odor when they climbed up as far as the window ledge, so they called the local law enforcement agency. The daughter had been murdered several days prior to the discovery of her body, and the murderer remained unknown.
What can we learn from these tragic lives?
1. Pride (presumptuousness and arrogance) will take you down pathways that bring sorrow and pain. Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
2. Remember that all of us will reap what we sow. As it says in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived, YHVH is not mocked. For whatever a man may sow, that he also will reap.”
3. Whatever our problems may be with our children, we have only to look into the mirror to see the person(s) responsible. Just like Mr. and Mrs. XXX, we may think we are doing an extremely good job, when in fact we are deluding ourselves. When we fail to live the Torah, we may as well forget about trying to teach it to them, for our actions will make a lie of anything we might say. The Pharisees kept the commands down to the last sprig of mint, but their hearts were hard and far away from YHVH. Proverbs 22:6 says that we are to “Train up a boy on the opening (the beginning) of his way (course of life), and even when he is old, he will not turn aside from it.” However, if we did not discover the Truth until after they were grown, and they have no desire to hear what we have to say about the instructions of YHVH, the most powerful weapon available to us is our example of how to walk in the pathway of righteousness, for it is not what you say but how you live!
Therefore, to fulfill our duties to our families and to each other, we must do our utmost to make sure that we are dead to our flesh and our feelings, so we can truly show compassion and kindness to others, letting this prayer of King David’s become our own: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing before You, YHVH, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
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