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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Christian Pride


Photo by madamepsychosis

The word Pride has been arrogated by the LGBTQ+ community in response, I’m sure, to the decades of shame, persecution, and humiliation its people have suffered at the hands of the heterosexual community. And the most militant, anti-LGBTQ+ faction of the heterosexual community, at least in the United States, is arguably those of us who claim Christ as our God.
Because the Bible condemns homosexuality we proudly declare ourselves in the right and homosexuals bound for hell.
But fire cannot be defeated with fire. Christians will never overcome the world while playing by its rules. And pride is the practice of the world. The Bible never confers on us the right to be proud of ourselves or our faith or our values:
“There is no one righteous. Not even one.”1
LGBTQ+ people take pride in their sexuality; I can take none in mine. My sexuality does not make me right before God, even if it conforms to biblical standards of sexuality, because other sins in my life—jealousy, anger, greed, for example—render me wholly unfit to stand before God, and make me no better than any other created being.
No better. “There is no one righteous. Not even one.
I am made right before God only because Jesus took what I deserve. Not what I deserved, but what I deserve, right now, this moment, for the sins I commit today.
Christians have no other just stance before God and the world and each other than bare, low, self-denying humility. Because there but for the grace of God go I.
“Pride has its root and strength in a spiritual power, outside of us as well as within us; as needful as it is that we confess and deplore it, it is satanic in origin.”2
Pride is not God’s invention. It’s what expelled Satan from God’s presence, and what Satan spoon-feeds the world to extricate the rest of us from relationship with God as well.
In the aftermath of the Orlando massacre, I read Aaron Sheppard’s words to Christians who would claim God’s justice in that horrible act, or who simply can’t find the will to show love or mercy to the victims:
“If you can’t bring yourself to feel or express any compassion for LGBT persons, I would advise you to re-read the Gospel accounts and closely study the empathy of Jesus. Empathy, mercy, and compassion drove many of the connections He made, and I find it extremely hard to believe that He’d categorically turn His nose up at all LGBT people in today’s world. Moreover, if you personally turned to Christ to be redeemed from your sins, then it is self-righteous of you to forget the mercy God showed you while YOU were in your sins. Extend that mercy to those with whose beliefs and lifestyles you disagree.” (emphasis mine)
Christian, let’s be like Christ in his humility and refuse the seductive and self-flattering lure of human pride. We’ve nothing in ourselves to justify anything but humility.
“There is so little of the meek and lowly Lamb of God in those who are called by his name. Let us consider how our lack of love, indifference to the needs and feelings of others, even sharp comments and hasty judgments that are often excused as being honest and straightforward, are thwarting the effect of the influence of the Holy Spirit on others.”3
 The litmus test for our words and behaviors as Christians must always and only be, “Does this further the Gospel or does it hinder it?”
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Hatred, anger, discord, petulance, cruelty, vengeance, treachery, hostility, and belligerence are neither godly, nor appropriate for people who call themselves by Christ’s name.
Christians no longer enjoy the safe and smug benefits of floating along in a culture that agrees with and affirms our faith. Quite the opposite. We have become the world’s enemy. And if we are to prove ourselves worthy of the calling of Christ, if we have any hope to save the lost and heal the wounded and bring the broken to the only One who can save, we must learn to fight as He fights.
With the unbreakable and unimpeachable power of Christ’s love and humility.

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1 "Romans 3:10." The NIV Study Bible: New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995. Print.
2 Murray, Andrew. Humility. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2001. 24. Print.
3 Murray, Andrew. Humility. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2001. 27. Print.

3 comments:

  1. Powerful and straight-up. Thank you for saying this.

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    1. One more thing I was reading that connects to what you write...Stanley Milgram (psych experiment-administering electric shock) showed that once the sense of personal guilt is removed, empathy is lost, even to the extent of murder. And that is what righteousness does to a person.

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  2. Well said and well written. We Christians are very good at looking around to see who we can condemn next.

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