Pride – the very first sin. It was the one that caused Lucifer and his followers to be tossed out of Heaven. Beautifully depicted in Tosca Lee’s fictional Demon, it shows Satan’s army coming against the Throne in force. In that scene, we see his pride take him from the beautiful angel he was, into the self-absorbed monster we know today.
Pride has been called the root of all evil. While that statement doesn’t appear in Scripture, it makes the list in Proverbs 6:16-19 of the things God hates. It is insidious. We have attitudes and ideas we’ve lived with our whole lives – which are ok in the world’s view, but under God’s light reveal ugly roots.
I have long identified with the Apostle Peter. His major problem was pride, as is mine. Indeed, one of the most dangerous prayers I’ve prayed is asking The Lord to show me where I harbor pride. He has never failed to answer. It was the same with Peter – he longed to follow Christ completely, but deep roots kept tripping him up.
In John 13, we see the mind-bending account of Jesus washing His Disciple’s feet. In one act, Jesus demonstrated in His Kingdom there would be no room for those who thought themselves better than others. He showed the less you think of yourself, the more you’re able to serve others. That leads to more communion with the Father, Son and Spirit – our great reward.
As I watch the discourse in John 13:6-9, it becomes alarmingly clear who I am in this scenario. The IPV New Testament Commentary reveals “In Peter’s response we see the pride and self-will that is at the heart of all sin and that is the very thing for which the cross will atone and bring healing. Peter is working from a worldly point of view, and not for the first time.” It’s obvious we thrive on doing the feet washing, but we can’t do it right until we first get a bath.
So, we must ask ourselves the questions facing Peter. Do we let Jesus serve us, if even from our natural perspective it feels wrong? Can we lay down our pride to find the humility He desires? Can we let others be the Hands and Feet of Christ to us? Our answer will determine if we are motivated to give more of ourselves to God. There is ministry in being the one served – it helps Jesus break down the high walls of selfishness in us.
Peter’s pride had to be broken in order to be the rock he was called to be. And like Peter, we all must understand our level of brokenness. But if instead of choosing to be stoic, we position ourselves into the Hands of the Master and those He has sent to care for us; the rebuilding process is a little easier. We will experience grace unimaginable and can pay love forward in ways we could never dream of before.