By Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Woodside
Special to GUIDON
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
— Proverbs 11:2
One of my proudest moments as a father was a few years ago when my youngest son earned his second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon-Do.
I watched as he trained and disciplined his body to achieve this feat. He had never taken to team sports, and after years of trying to find a sport that he enjoyed and could excel in, he finally found his home in Tae Kwon-Do.
On the day of testing, we arrived early at the gym and met the infamous “master” who would administer the test. The expert teacher was a former Special Forces operator, and his mind games and motivational techniques became evident early in the testing.
I warned my son of this, and told him that this was going to be more a mental test than a physical one. Sure enough, after several hours of physical and mental exhaustion, he emerged a second-degree black belt.
I was very proud and rightfully so. That is a “good” kind of pride. But there is another kind of pride that is wrong and even sinful. If my son had gone into his testing having not prepared, demonstrating no discipline and believing that he was owed a black belt merely for showing up, that would be arrogance.
When we lose perspective of who we are, we become proud, haughty, and arrogant. Such arrogance leads to our own downfall. The Bible is clear about the danger of pride. The writer of Proverbs warns that pride leads to disgrace.
Disgrace could be pictured as a man wearing no clothes but he thinks he is royally dressed.
The opposite of pride is humility, which keeps us from experiencing disgrace. Humility reminds us that it is possible to fail, falter, or even lose. Humility keeps us grounded and reminds us that we need to practice for the game. Humility cautions all of us to be thankful in success and gracious in defeat. The prideful individual will eventually come upon a task that he or she cannot do, and the fall is hard for the proud.
Let us all be mindful of those areas where we struggle with pride. Let us ask for God’s grace to help us be humble. Let us clothe ourselves with humility and not be found standing disgraced by our pride.
(Editor’s note: Woodisde is the 43rd Adjutant General Battalion chaplain).