The scripture indicates that pride is the worst of all human attributes. It says so in Proverbs 16:18 It is the precursor to destruction. Even worse than that, it is a sin God hates the most. (Proverbs 6:16)

Pride comes in many forms: self-elation, self-promotion, self-confidence, self-pity, self-destruction, self-loathing...do you see a pattern here?

Pride got its ugly start in Heaven one time in eternities past when Lucifer, the most beautiful of all of God's created angels, determined in his twisted mind that he would ascend to God's throne. (Isaiah 14:12-14) It resulted in his excommunication from Heaven — along with 1/3 of the angels who were his followers.

Pride is such a destroyer of character, reputation, families, job opportunities -- and guess what? Pride results in stolen valor — which means stretching the truth about one's wartime heroics. Pride causes one to commit stolen victimhood — to portray a victim in society through devious means in order to have one's own way or for ill-gotten gain. It was pride which was Adam's and Eve's downfall in the Garden of Eden. It was pride that drove King Saul to a jealous rage and ultimate insanity because of his successor, David.

Pride has reached its slimy tentacles into the church as well. How many new churches have been organized over a falling out in another church because someone didn't get their way concerning the color of the new carpet in the sanctuary -- or on which side the piano goes?

Jesus Christ modeled a life totally devoid of pride. He told his disciples that he was "meek and lowly in heart." No brag — just fact. Meekness is not the definition of weakness. Jesus was anything but weak. Meekness means "power under control." A meek person is a powerful person — but he or she never uses it for self-assertion. A meek person, right as he may be, is willing to check his pride at the door in the midst of a heated conflict. Meekness always sacrifices the victory in the argument in order to benefit others — and to glorify God. It is meekness that seeks God's answer. Pride forces its own ungodly narrative on others for its own "glory."

There's an old joke which has circulated, "I have worked and worked in order to achieve humility...and now I'm so proud that I've achieved it."

Humility and meekness are such elusive things — once you are proud you have achieved them, you demonstrate that you never had them in the first place.

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Paul Gauntt currently serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Palmer.