“But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations.” (Daniel 9:5 NLT)
One of the most dangerous and destructive things I have witnessed in the church over the years, is spiritual pride. Regular pride is bad enough, after all the Bible says, “pride comes before destruction.” (Proverbs 16:8) Spiritual pride, however, takes things to a whole new level. Spiritual pride often comes dressed in faux-righteousness. We (or the devil) actually convince ourselves that we have the moral high-ground and are speaking the very words of God.
Over the years I have seen spiritual pride exhibited in a variety of ways: Preachers who condemn other servants of God only to be caught in their own sins; Young Christians criticizing older saints for not worshipping the way they do – or vice-versa; Saints who expect Pastors and leaders to live exemplary lives while somehow believing that they are not called to the same Biblical standards.
Perhaps the worst spiritual pride of all comes in the “us against them” mentality. When someone hurts or offends us, it is a natural (fleshly) reaction to want God to exact our revenge. When people around us reject our faith – perhaps with scathing rebukes and put-downs, we sometimes have visions of them, “getting what they deserve.” The problem with this kind of thinking is that we are supposed to follow Jesus. He was given “all authority on Heaven and Earth,” (Matthew 28:18) yet He said that He did not come to “condemn the world, but to save the world.” Yes, there will come a time when He will pass judgment on all who reject God, (2 Tim 4:1) but in the meantime, we live in a time of grace were it is His will that “none should perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) That should be our heart as well.
Daniel is one of the few major characters in the Bible of whom no sin is written. David had Bathsheba and the census fiasco, and even Moses disobeyed, but Daniel doesn’t have as much as a “little white lie” recorded against him. Of all the people in the Bible, other than Jesus Himself, no one was more qualified to condemn the sinners around him. Instead, as we see in today’s scripture, he stands with his fellow flawed human beings and says, “we have sinned…;” “we have rebelled…;” “we have scorned…”
Perhaps if we remember the grace of God that was required for our salvation, we would be a little less prideful, and a little more like Jesus toward our fellow flawed humans. Instead of passing judgement, let us pray that God will have mercy on all of us. After all if we truly lived up to all of God’s standards, perhaps others would be more willing to hear about the One we serve.
Father forgive us for our pride. Help us to be humble servants in the nature and character of Jesus. Help us love others in the same way You love us, and help us see how much You love that person we are about to condemn. In Jesus wonderful Name we pray. Amen!