June 12, 2021

Before a Fall

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18
The proverb that is today's text is almost always shortened these days, using the first two and the last three words of the King James Version: Pride goeth before a fall. The meaning is obvious: If I'm on my knees and take a tumble, I probably won't hurt myself. But if I fall after climbing up on a high pedestal, the chance of injury is much higher. 

The fallen have nowhere to go but up, while the exalted will eventually be toppled. This is the basic message of most of the Bible. Jesus even told a parable about this: Don't assume to take the best seat in the house. The host might have reserved it for someone else, and when you're asked to move you'll be humiliated. Instead, take the worst seat. Then if the host tells you to move closer to them, you'll be honored.

Being humble also places us in a much better position to serve others who need us. If I only view people from far above, I cannot truly understand them or know their needs. But if I am on the level of the needy, then I can serve them because I know what it's like to be them.

This is a far cry from viewing people from a distance and pointing out their faults. The exalted can criticize others because they think they're worthy of having a voice. By contrast, those who are not heard have no voice to point out inequality, for the powerful do not listen to the weak. The solution is not for the humble to scream more loudly, but for the mighty to check their privilege, realize that it is a disadvantage to be insulated from the majority of humanity, and to lower their sights.

Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?
 Luke 6:41
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Christ our companion, you came not to humiliate the sinner but to disturb the righteous. Welcome us when we are put to shame, but challenge our smugness, that we may truly turn from what is evil, and be freed even from our virtues.
 Janet Morley
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After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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