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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Master Mentor #19

Chapter 18 (Book 3, Chapter 8)
Today CS takes on what he considers, and I agree, to be the biggest issue facing people as they seek to live lives and as they seek to follow God… that thing of Pride. In the midst of his discussion of pride… which is interesting because we just read several of these selections in Staff Prayer on Thursday… he states that Pride is the source of all other sins. Over the course of the chapter, he uses various examples to drive home his point. And does well at that.
But as I’m reading, I’m thinking to myself: “Am I a prideful person? Would I consider myself prideful? Would others consider me such?” I’m not sure how I would answer that. At first thought, I would say “no.” But then in saying that, am I displaying pride that I’m not too prideful of myself? At second, if I said “yes,” then am I saying so simply so that you won’t think that I’m being arrogant about not being arrogant or am I simply admitting it so that it doesn’t show up in my life?
CS wraps up this chapter with this paragraph: “If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done about it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed” (page 104). So in many respects, CS has everyone in a bit of a “catch-22” and for good reason. If you don’t admit our pride problem… which we all have… myself include… then it means that we have a very large pride problem. And if we do admit our problem, then it means that we have a problem (and who really wants that?). But he’s right.
Earlier in the chapter, CS talks about Pride being the only sin that is competitive in nature. He states that other sins can be competitive, but it’s really only pride that is so which is behind the competitiveness of the other sins. One can say that someone is greedy. But is it really that that person is greedy or that his pride is driving him to acquire more and more until he controls all? Indeed.
I almost hate meeting other youth workers for the first time. Don’t get me wrong, I love youth workers… especially others from other churches. But I hate the first meeting. Why you might ask? Because I know that about 3 to 5 questions into the meeting, I know that there is a question coming. The question might be phrased differently depending on how old or young the other youth work is. But I know that the question will be basically: “How big is your student ministry?” And I hate the question. I hate the question because it is a comparison question. They aren’t asking how “healthy” the group is… they aren’t asking what’s going “great” right now… they aren’t even asking where you’re “struggling.” They are looking for a number. And every time, you do this you lose (according to Doug Fields… whom I happen to agree with). Because every time you do this you feel your pride problem. If my group is smaller than the group leader’s, then that leader feels pretty great about himself (especially if this is a local meeting that I’m talking about and the church is down the street from my church). If my group is larger than his group, then he or she will begin to look for other ways in which their group is “better” or else they will feel like a “failure” because their group isn’t the size of our group. And in which case, they usually start looking for another group that is smaller so they can save a little “face.” But it’s always a losing deal.
But it’s pride. And it shows up in all of the areas of life. I would dare say that it shows up in all of the areas of all of our lives from time to time. The only difference is the degree. But, in line with what “GI Joe” always used to say… “Knowing is half the battle.” Realizing that you have a problem is the first step to dealing with your problem… whether it’s alcoholism or pride.

Jim

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