Monday, February 28, 2005

 

Walking the Thin Line

"There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people ever imagine that they are guilty themselves." So says C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity. He is speaking of what he calls the 'great sin' which is pride or arrogance.

The opposite of pride is humility and that is the focal point of all Christianity. It's what distinguishes Christian philosophy from all others. We don't get what we deserve. And thank God for that. That's what grace is all about. 'Blessed are the poor in spirit'. Why? Because it's down-and-out folks who have hit rock bottom that can admit they can't make it on their own.

The worst sin is the one to which we are all easily susceptible. It's the reason Christ warned so frequently of the treachery that riches pose. If you are comfortable and successful, it may be tempting to grow to appreciate your own virtues and achievements.

Hopefully, you can see that if you've got that mentality, you have already succumbed to pridefulness. Even if you are a humble person, it can be easy to begin congratulating yourself on your own humility and become prideful of it. To me, this is scary stuff the more I think of it. It makes me realize the line between Heaven and Hell is not all that clear to us.

Amazing grace saved a wretch like me. The first step it would seem is to admit being unworthy in the sight of a completely holy and pure God. Admit to being a wretch, if you will, and seeing the pride in ourselves. If you fancy yourself a swell person all on your own, you're not going to make it to that first step.

So how do you imagine a truly humble person? C.S. Lewis speculates that it's not a smarmy type that goes around calling himself a nobody. But rather, "Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him."

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