But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:10-11 (NIV)
You Go First
This is probably not your favorite verse, is it? No, not really. Why is that? The topic hits pretty close to home. What do you mean by that? I know that I battle pride. Yes, you do. It’s good that you understand that this verse is not really about where you sit at a table. Yes, I know that choosing where to sit is just one indication of the condition of my heart. What are others? I was afraid you might ask that. Actually, I was certain that you were going to ask that. It’s a question that makes you a little uncomfortable, doesn’t it? Yes, it does. Why do you think that is? It’s hard to honestly take a look at my pride. What’s hard about it? I know it’s there within me, just lurking below the surface. It’s pretty disgusting. I’d rather not have it. I’d rather it go away. Do you think that it will go away if you deny that it exists? No, I’m sure that it won’t. Do you think that your pride can be dealt with if we talk about it together? Yes, I suppose that it can. Let’s do that then. Alright, I’m game.
How does pride show itself in your life? I can think of a bunch of ways. Let’s hear a few. Frequently, I have to be right. I must win the argument. I like to debate. So, in a debate or argument, I gather all the arguments I have so that I can win. How do you feel at the end of the debate when you’ve won? It feels very unsatisfying to win debates or arguments. Most often I regret having the debate or argument at all. I know that it is possible to win the argument or debate and loose relationally at the same time. Why is that? Debate losers think debate winners are jerks and a lot of the time they are. Right. You don’t want that. No, I don’t. How else has pride been showing itself in your life? I talk too much. I need to make my opinion known. I frequently interrupt others. I listen very poorly and I certainly don’t pick up on the feelings of others very well. I hate to say this, but I like to be the center of attention. Yes, I’ve noticed that. Is there one more way that pride has been showing itself in your life? Yes, I don’t want or need help. I’m self-sufficient. Do you really believe that? No, not at all. I just live and act as if I don’t need help. Do you think that asking for help shows some kind of weakness? I’m not even sure why I don’t ask for help. I know that I am weak. I know that I need help. Right now for example, I need all your help to set aside my pride to live the life of humility you desire for me. So, you’re confessing sin and asking for my help? Yes, I am. That’s very good. How about starting with what this parable suggests? What’s that? Let others always go first in all things. That includes far more than choosing a seat at the table. I want you to regularly ask me a question. What’s that? Ask me how you can serve others and let them go first. When should I ask that? When do you think? I think I should ask you that question all the time. Why is that? Because, I really do need your help all the time. Yes, you do. So, I’m asking for it. That’s very good.
Lord, thank you that you love, accept and recognize me. Help me to know in my heart that I am special to you. Help me to express your love and acceptance to others, as I humble myself, so they can be recognized and honored as being special to you as well. Amen
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