Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Grace and Pride

"God... gives grace to the humble." Proverbs 3:34

Pride is the ultimate sin. It is often an accomplice sin, but the reason I believe it is so bad is because when we indulge in pride, we are prevented from asking for forgiveness and receiving God's grace. God's forgiveness is absolutely free, but in order to receive it, we have to ask. And pride prevents us from doing this.

In the story of David and Bathsheba, I see many different ways in which David shows pride. First of all, by not going to war, he put himself into a situation where he could be tempted. Then, after he saw Bathsheba on the roof, rather than telling an advisor he was struggling, he kept it a secret. Then he invited her over, they had sex, and she got pregnant. Pride enters again. Rather than confessing to Uriah that he had slept with his wife, David chose to maintain his tatters of pride and have Uriah killed.

There are three distinct ways in which God shows his grace in this story. First of all, I believe that by allowing David to experience the natural consequences of his sin, God showed grace - because it forced David to own up to it. When our sin goes by without consequence, we grow numb to it.

Secondly, God showed grace in exposing David. If Nathan the prophet had never confronted David, he would have lived with the shame and guilt of his actions. They would have eaten away at him for who knows how long. They would have prevented him from feeling God's grace.

Which leads to the third and most obvious way that God shows his grace - He forgave him and restored him. Psalm 51 gives us a taste of both David's agony, and ultimately his experience of God's grace and forgiveness. "Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin." Then, David asks, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

When we sin, which we all do, the biggest mistake we can make is pridefully hiding it. God will only forgive us when we ask. Bono once said that he liked grace better than karma because he was so utterly dependent on it.

Let's live in dependence on grace.

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