At the “sponsor hunt at the mall” just before New Year’s I wore an outlandish disguise which included a flashy silver-and-black gangster-looking sleeveless hoodie. One of the girls in the youth group liked it and asked to buy it afterward.
This past Sunday I thought it would be funny to wear this hoodie to church and then give it to the girl afterward. My family didn’t think it was so funny, but I persisted and wore it anyways as we sat in the front row. When it came time for the offering I suddenly remembered that I had agreed to fill in as an usher and so I began to stand up to do my duty. Realizing I had the silly hoodie on and that I was in the front row I found myself in an awkward situation. My family was justifiably mortified and tried to get me to take it off quickly, but I resisted, concluding that it would draw more attention to it if I proceeded to take it off than just to leave it on and pretend nothing was wrong.
My family’s adverse reaction bothered me at first — until I began to look inward. This week it has made me reflect on the things that I do and my motivation in doing them. At that moment in the pew maybe my motivation was sincerely to draw less attention to my wardrobe malfunction. Or maybe I was just being stubborn — not wanting to admit to an error in my judgment. Or maybe I wanted the extra attention that I inwardly knew would result from wearing such a getup while passing the plate. I suspect the latter is the closest to the truth.
This internal conversation with myself has also made me think about other things I do to draw attention to myself. I enjoy highlighting my extremeness, resilience, creativity, outlandishness, asceticism, etc. These are not necessarily bad things — in fact most are admirable qualities — but it’s my craving to be known as such that is the issue here.
I’ve concluded that the word for this particular sin of mine is Pride. It’s one of the hidden sins that no one can see but is one that scripture casts as being among the worst. Satan fell because of it. Israel was exiled because of it. Peter was humiliated by it before the cock crowed. “God opposes the proud.” “Pride goes before the fall.” etc.
The antidote to pride is humility. Which is why I needed to post this confession. And ask for prayer to get victory over the sin of pride in my life. And invite you to call me on it when you observe pride in me.