Proverbs: Part 16

Above all sins, God hates pride. Pride is the sin that begets all others. It’s because of pride that we gossip. It’s pride that motivates us to lie or steal. Pride is the root cause of murder.

These are bold statements to make, but here’s why I make them.

Frank McAndrew, Knox College psychology professor, says this about gossip. “If somebody is a competitor or somebody is higher than you in the food chain, you want dirt about them,” he says. “You want negative information, because that’s the stuff you can exploit to get ahead.”

University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert Feldman asserts that people lie to make themselves look good to others. “It’s tied in with self-esteem,” he says. “We find that as soon as people feel that their self-esteem is threatened, they immediately begin to lie at higher levels.”

According to Dr. Paul Mattiuzzi, whose work has been published by the Huffington Post, most killers and violent individuals display the following (among other) characteristics:

  • Believes violence and/or aggression are legitimate responses to various interpersonal problems in life (i.e., if someone provokes you, you fight back)
  • Resents authority, defiant with supervisors
  • Although they might never admit it, pleasure or reinforcement is derived from the expression of anger (i.e., it feels good to blow someone off; it makes you feel alive; it gives you a sense of power)
  • Feel that people walk on them and that they are never treated fairly
  • When they are passed over, there is always someone else to blame
  • Things are easier for everyone else: other people get more and have more advantages
  • In response to reprimands, they develop grudges, which are sometimes deeply held
  • Aggression occurs in response to a single, massive assault on their identity
  • The essence of their existence (or their manhood) will be destroyed if they do not respond
  • Immature and narcissistic individuals who demand or crave attention and affection
  • Violence because: “if I can’t have her, nobody can.” … or: “if she won’t have me, she won’t have anything.”

Outside of being legitimately insane, murder is caused by pride. Analyze each of the rationale listed above and I think you’ll probably agree.

Our verse from Proverbs this week comes from the 16th chapter.

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished (5).

In the book of Obadiah we learn about the fate of Edom, the kingdom which came from Esau, who was Issac’s son and Jacob’s brother. Esau’s lineage was completely destroyed because of pride. We read:

We have heard a message from the Lord. “…See, I will make you small among the nations; you will be utterly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you…you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord. (1-4)

The Edomites lived among the cliffs of Mount Seir (Genesis 36:9), which is why the Lord describes this kingdom as those who soar like the eagle and make their homes (nests) among the stars. Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 8.18.55 AM

“All your allies will force you to the border; your friends will deceive and overpower you…Your warriors…will be terrified, and everyone in Esau’s mountains will be cut down in the slaughter…There will be no survivors from the house of Esau.” The Lord has spoken. (7-18)

Why did God destroy Edom? We’re told that it was their pride that tore them apart from their Creator. It was pride that stood between salvation and destruction. The Edomites thought they could get by without God, living a fantastic life high in the hills, but they were dead wrong.

In Proverbs 6, verses 16-19 God tells us of the six things He hates the most. The first on this list is “haughty eyes.” Ever walked into church and felt as though you and your family were being scrutinized? Have you ever sat in the pew and judged the clothing of others against the beautiful outfit you were wearing? Have you compared your $300K house against that of your poorer neighbors? Are you so proud of your new BMW that you look down on the Hyundai in the next lane?

Proverbs clearly tells God’s children that pride is the most hated of all sins. Get down on your knees today and ask God to keep your pride in check. Ask God to humble you, as you have nothing to be prideful about. All that you have and all that you own belongs to God. He made you and endowed you will the skills and talents you possess.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall (16:18).

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