In 1990, November, Ruth and I took what was to have been a six-month sabbatical in Hawaii. We went to seek the Lord for His plan for our future. We envisaged a nice relaxed time in a beautiful setting, reading the Bible, praying and having fellowship with other Christians. It didn’t work out that way at all! It was an extremely difficult time for many reasons. I became seriously ill with a disease that could have killed me, and Ruth was left looking after a husband who had no strength at all. And apart from that, God persistently dealt with us. I mean, I’ve seen God deal with my wife, who is a real saintly woman, and I’ve seen God say and do things to her that I wouldn’t have dared to say. Not because I’m afraid of her but simply because I wouldn’t have the strength to do it.
But, for about six months—in fact, we had to prolong our sabbatical because we hadn’t arrived at the conclusion at the end of six months—God relentlessly and remorselessly dealt with us. He was always kind and always patient, never condemnatory. But He laid bare one thing after another in our lives which He insisted that we change. And of all the things that He dealt with, the one that was central to everything was pride.
There are various ways of dealing with pride. Let me tell you one good way that we learned. That is, to confess your sins. I think that’s become old fashioned. In the church today, we don’t confess our sins. But the Bible says in James 5:16: “confess your sins one to another, and pray one for another that you may be healed.” The King James Version, for some reason, says “confess your faults.” I think maybe they were afraid of being too close to the Roman Catholics.
But the word in Greek is sins, it’s just the same word that’s used for sin all through the New Testament. Confess your sins one to another.
And you know, it’s very hard to stay proud when you’re confessing your sins. You try it. Let me recommend it to you. Especially for a husband to confess his sins to his wife. I mean, if there’s one thing that a husband doesn’t want to do, that’s it. But I’m glad that I had a wife to confess my sins to. And I’m glad she listened so patiently. She confessed sins to me, too.
Now I have a totally different view of pride from what I had before. There’s one thing I’m afraid of, it’s being proud. I don’t claim that I’ve achieved that. And when I see Christians, especially ministers, who demonstrate manifest pride, I tremble. I really do.
It seems to me that in the Church today you can get away with pride. It’s not considered sinful. In fact, it’s almost considered something to be emulated. Tomorrow, I’ll continue on this very important subject, with my own experience to prove.
Dear Father, I know all too well how pride is a real and deep-rooted problem, also within me. I pray with all my heart You’ll deliver me from any pride. Give me the grace of a contrite spirit and a broken heart before You, so I’ll not fall in the snare of destruction. I want to have the same meekness You have, Lord. Please work it out in me. In Jesus’ Name, amen.