When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)
In Dante’s Inferno, those whose prideful natures brought them to hell are given this punishment: “. . . the proud penitents carrying heavy rocks on their backs. The weight forces them to walk slowly, their bodies bent low to the ground.”1
The irony of this punitive measure is that the proud want to be visibly upright before others in a haughty manner. Carrying this heavy burden, they cannot walk ahead of and are unable to rise before others in a stance that would indicate power, authority and superiority. The “proud penitents” are humbled—in a physical way. Yet, it is one’s mind and soul that must be prostrate before God in a state of true humility– not the mere physical appearance of a submissive form.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)
These prideful sinners were not penitent in true humility. In Jesus’s time, the Pharisees were the examples of overbearing pride. Jesus pointed to the Pharisees as those who served themselves and not the Lord, prideful in their accusations against Him and arrogant before others.
39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. 42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. 43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces. 44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.” (Luke 11: 39-44)
Pride before God and others only brings one down, like the sinners depicted by Dante: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
God does not accept a prideful attitude of heart: The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)
The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty,
for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled). Isaiah 2:12
The burden of those guilty of pride is heavy and unending torture, while the burden of those in Christ is light with the promise of rest:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
All will be humbled before God. The choice is whether we will do so of our own volition and find peace and rest in the Lord or if we will choose the path of pride and carry that weight on our backs throughout eternity– apart from God.
In what ways do we each need to confess to a prideful heart– and come to Jesus? 1http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/purgatory/03pride.html
(Sharon G. Tate blog 01/07/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word