Today's post isn't as much about confessing (although there will be some of that too) as it is about stating something I have recently begun to believe, giving my reasons why, and then asking for your feedback. Please, please, please understand this before reading on: even if I seem confident of my statements here, I am not. I am sharing my thoughts with you as a suggestion, not a sound doctrinal argument. With that said, here we go.
I'm becoming ever-more convinced that every sin is somehow rooted in pride.
What caused Satan to fall? Pride. Isaiah 14 tells us that Lucifer fell because he said in his heart, "I will be like the Most High." He wanted to be like the Most High God.
What caused the fall of man? Pride. The devil convinced us that, "You will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:4). We wanted to be like God.
What is at the heart of the harlot of old that will finally be destroyed in end times? Pride. In her arrogance, she says, "I am, and there is none besides me" (Isaiah 47:8, Rev 18:7). She wants to be like the Great I Am.
If you are wondering why I mention this harlot, it is because Revelation 18 says that "all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries." All nations have been influenced by this "harlot;" so, what is she?
Although there are many different beliefs as to what form the harlot will take in the last days (a tangible city, a world system, a religion, a person, or perhaps all the above) I believe she is, at the most basic level, a mentality: "I am and there is none beside me." A mentality that, unfortunately, has resided in each of us from time to time, seducing us away from our "first love" (Rev 2:4), the Great I Am. We are lured by worldly luxuries, merriment, and even recognition, eventually becoming self-centered rather than God-centered. This mentality can crop up in many different ways; here are a few examples:
"I deserve respect because I know more, I'm wiser, and I'm older."
"I deserve recognition because I'm good at this; I'm at least better than her."
"I deserve the finest this life has to offer because I've worked hard."
"I deserve to be heard; I've been attending this church longer than they have."
"I deserve forgiveness, because, really, I'm a good person."
The really twisted part of pride is that it can crop up in more subtle ways, like doubt and insecurity. (This one steps ALL OVER my toes.)
"I don't deserve respect; I'm young, I'm inexperienced, and really, what do I know?"
"I don't deserve recognition, because I'm really not that good; at least there are so many others that are better."
"I don't deserve to enjoy life because I've spent too much time being lazy; I've wasted so many opportunities."
"I don't deserve to be heard; I'm new here."
"I don't deserve forgiveness; I am a hopeless mess."
In case you're like me and can't immediately recognize how this is pride, let me relay Beth Moore's explanation. (Yes, her again. You might as well know, if you don't already, that I've taken a LOT of her studies; so, I quote her a LOT.) As she said, both mentalities are prideful because both focus on SELF, not GOD. I do...I don't...I am..I'm not. I... I... I... I!
One summer, the kids at my church did a musical about the life of Joseph. Because I got to work with them as they practiced, I learned a lot of the songs. There is one in particular that I find myself singing all the time. I can't remember all of it, but the chorus says,
"It's not about me,
It's all about You, Lord.
It's not about me,
It's You I want to see.
It's not about me,
It's all about You, Lord!"
I am constantly singing this song because I am constantly having to remind myself of this. Constantly. Constantly.
Pride has caused me to do things I shouldn't have done. Pride has also hindered me from doing things God has called me to do. Because I have focused on myself, and not my God, I have yearned for the wrong things and I have shirked away from the right things.
If our lives are like a plane (I mean the two-dimensional surface, not the kind you fly), then I picture it riddled with potholes, all labeled with "Pride." (I guess that would be a three-dimensional surface, huh? Oh well, back to the point...) We are trying to stay on level ground, but no matter where we turn, all we see are potholes. How do we navigate through this life without falling into all these pits???
A Psalm of Ascent comes to mind as the answer:
We will lift up our eyes to the hills. Where does our help come from? Our help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth! [And, get this! This is super cool...] HE WILL NOT LET OUR FEET SLIP! He who watches over us will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord will keep us from all harm. He will watch over our lives. The Lord will watch over our coming and going both now and forevermore. (My paraphrase of Psalm 121.)
Ironic, isn't it? The pits are all around our feet. But in order to keep from slipping, we can't be watching our feet (focusing on self), we have to keep looking up (focusing on God)! Trusting the One we can't see to lead us around the pits that threaten our every step.
I don't know about you, but I've got some "looking up" to do.
So, now for some feedback...
I've never heard this from any theologian or great Bible teacher, but I am certainly convinced that all sins stem from pride. I've mentioned this several times to various people who have offered little response. If you have any evidence to support this theory OR if you can think of exceptions, please comment. This curious mind wants to know. =)