When people of prominence are disgraced, we often react with “how the mighty are fallen”, or “pride goes before a fall”.
2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.
Both these sayings have their origins in today’s passage. Another from my childhood was “Those walking with their noses in the air can’t see where their feet are going.”
It is easy to point our fingers at celebrities, politicians, even leaders in the Church and shake our heads at their disgrace and downfall, but what about ourselves, in our own lives?
Disgrace doesn’t just mean being splashed across the front page of the tabloids or the six o’clock news. It doesn’t just mean shame and humiliation and bad publicity. It literally means “no grace”.
This is very pertinent to us who walk and live by the grace of God. When our pride takes over, and causes us to fall, we haven’t just toppled from the pedestal of public opinion, we have chosen to live as though grace doesn’t exist. With God there is never “no grace”. There is no place that His love cannot reach and pull us out of where we have fallen. However, pride is us putting ourselves up at His level, thinking that our own achievements mean we can dispense with grace.
This is the same thought that caused Satan to fall from his original place among the angels, and that caused Adam and Eve to fall from innocence in the Garden of Eden.
Sometimes it takes a fall to make us realise that we have hit rock bottom and all the things we were so proud of cannot help us where we are. Like the son amongst the pigs in the parable that Jesus told, we come to our senses and recognise where we should have been all along, in our Father’s presence, under His grace.
Those who have their disgrace broadcast in the media may feel shame about being caught out. But in our private lives, when we have “no grace” moments, nobody may be around to see it. Nobody that is, except the Spirit who doesn’t desert us, but uses our sense of disgrace to bring about repentance, a return to God to humbly seek His forgiveness and wisdom. Our internal disgrace may mean being uncomfortable with what we have done in our pride, but these nudges lead us back to making God the centre of our lives, back to His grace.
Head: As you listen to today’s song, ponder the words “pour contempt on all my pride” and think of the things that make you proud (not things like being proud of your children for tying their shoelaces for the first time, but things that have put you above others, maybe even to their detriment).
Heart: How do you respond to the lyric “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all”?
Hands: Bring the times when you have felt disgrace due to pride and lay them at the foot of the Cross.Write a grace note to yourself, not dwelling on the disgrace, but on His grace.
Prayer: Lord I boast only in the death of Christ, through which I have forgiveness, and Your grace upon my life. Forgive me for the times when I have been proud and brought disgrace upon myself. Thank you for your everlasting grace. Amen.
A song to listen to: When I Survey