Pride is the root of all sin, and yet American Christianity (of the suburban type) has transformed it into a socially acceptable sin. This transformation is the epitome of our creative ability to make sin look less intense and more palatable. Think about it. If you ask someone what they struggle with, they’ll probably say: “Dude, I struggle with pride. Pray for me, brother.” And while this is probably true of everyone—we all struggle with pride—we have transformed this into a socially acceptable sin. It’s almost ok to struggle with pride, and if you struggle with pride, you won’t loose your position as a pastor, teacher, youth leader, and rarely do people get divorced solely because of the spouse’s struggled with pride. We say that pride is a big deal—the root of all sin—but do we really mean this?
But if you ask someone what they struggle with, and they said, “Well, you know, I really struggle with homosexuality,” or “I have this unquenchable addiction to porn,” or “I’m having a hard time not beating my wife; please help me,” or—to be blunt—“I really struggle with pedophilia,” this would be a sure way to lose your spouse, ministry position, and—ironically enough—your Christian friends.
Though the Bible says that pride is really the worst of all sins, and though we give lip service to this truth, for some reason, we have domesticated pride. It’s socially acceptable. No one really bats an eye when another believer struggles with pride, though we are quick to condemn those who struggle with a whole host of other sinful passions.
My point? I think we need to stop using the sin of “pride” as yet another inauthentic cover up for our real sin. We’ve learned the game and we know the system. We can admit that we struggle with something that sounds bad, like pride, and yet still be able to keep our face and maintain our high standing in the Christian community. But the gospel doesn’t demand that we look good; it demands that we are honest with our desperate need for God’s grace.
So the next time you are asked what you are struggling with (“how can I pray for you, brother?”), stop! Wait! Is your answer going to be yet another attempt to make yourself look better than you really are? (“Well, you know, brother, I’m really struggling with that all too abstract and socially acceptable sin of pride.”) Or are you really comfortable acknowledging the depth of your depravity, the grossness of your sin, the brokenness and creepiness of your character? Because only the latter is a true picture of who you really are and how desperate you are in the need of God’s unconditioned grace.
Let’s be authentic. Let’s be real. Let’s acknowledge the fact that we suck. That we are a steaming pile of dung that is in desperate need of God’s grace. Let’s be real with the specificity of our sin, the concreteness of our twisted rebellion against God in order to showcase the beautiful power of God’s redemptive forgiveness that cleanses our soul and clears our guilt—all of it, including pedophile tendencies.