July 2019

What is it that makes us think we’re never wrong?!

I saw this mug the other day and it made me think of a wonderful story written by Samuel Moor Shoemaker.

He wrote: We were in church one morning where the rector was saying Morning Prayer and leading us in guided silent prayer. He said ‘ Let us pray for those whom we love‘…..and that was easy. Then he said ‘ Let us pray for those whom we do not love.’

And there rose in my mind two people for whom I had to pray. These two people had voiced that I wasn’t doing my ‘job’ properly. In this they may have been wrong, or of course they may have been right! But my wrong was in my sadness at their comments and a feeling of letting myself be cut off from them and even for not praying for them because of it.

Years ago I read a quote from Mary Lyon that occurs to me again and again:

‘Nine tenths of our suffering is caused by others not thinking so much of us as we think they ought.

If you want to know where pride nestles and festers in most of us, that is right where it is; and it’s not the opposition of others, but our own pride which causes us the deepest hurt.

I never read a word that penetrated more deeply into the sin of pride from which all of us suffer, nor one which opens up more surgically our places of unforgiveness.

How often do we allow our pride to get in the way of the process of forgiveness and healing?

C. S Lewis observed that ‘pride is like a spiritual cancer, it eats up the very possibility of love or contentment or even common sense.’

The book of Proverbs tells us clearly that pride brings disgrace, quarrels, destruction and most famously in chapter 16: 18….pride comes before a fall. It evens goes as far as to say ‘God opposes the proud…..but he gives grace to the humble.’

It’s not that God wants us to be cowed and never able to feel the joy of achieving something good or well made, but it’s about having a right view of ourselves before God and others.

So how can we make sure we don’t fall into the trap of misplaced pride?

Perhaps it’s by taking Samuel Moor Shoemaker’s advice and praying not just for those whom we love…but also for those whom we find perhaps a little irritating!

Yours in prayer

Revd Christine

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