Pride→disgrace. Humility→wisdom.

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2).

When we see gray clouds we know a storm and rain are probably coming. Proverbs leads us to see other connections and correlations from other phenomena and make other important deductions. Just as if we see gray clouds we know rain is coming, if we see pride we know disgrace is coming.

Disgrace follows pride like dessert follows dinner; one comes then the other. Superiority then scandal, self-importance then shame. Disgrace follows pride as surely as two follows one. There’s a sequential relationship. If one is not humble there will be humiliation.

The prideful person, however, may not even see or experience the humiliation though. They may further puff up against the pain rather than confront their inadequacies.

The arrogant are in the dangerous place of not seeing their own ignorance. If we see ourselves as superior, we aren’t in a good place to see our own stupidity. Those who think they stand then should take heed lest they fall (1 Corinthian 10:12).

What is the solution? Humility.

We should be willing to admit we are sometimes wrong. We have done wrong and been wrong in the past, we should know that this could (and will) happen in the future too.

Christianity gives a basis for humility.[1] It teaches us repeatedly that we don’t always get it right. And Jesus said, blessed are the humble who know that truth (See Matthew 5:5ff).[2]

Christians should be willing to listen, willing to learn. We should be humble because our Lord Jesus has called us to humility. We don’t know it all and we should admit that truth.

“With the humble is wisdom.” Those who know they don’t know, are in a good place to know. If we realize what we don’t realize, we are open to realizing.

Pride → disgrace.
Humility → wisdom.

_____

[1] Christian behavior is not based on knowledge alone, that leads to pride and destroys others, even those for whom Christ died; Christian behavior is based on love grounded in the knowledge of Christ. We tend to think we know all we need to know to answer all kinds of questions—but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. As Eugene Peterson has said in his paraphrase of the Bible, the Message: “Knowing isn’t everything. If it becomes everything, some people end up as know-it-alls who treat others as know-nothings.” I appreciate what Richard Baxter said, “If we have any knowledge at all, we must needs know how much reason we have to be humble; and if we know more than others, we must know more reason than others to be humble” (The Reformed Pastor, 144). I also appreciate this from Thomas à Kempis: “What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? …I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it. For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God” and neighbor?” (The Imitation of Christ).

[2] Proverbs also tells us repeatedly that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 10 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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