I feel the roughness of his fingers as they intertwine with mine. He’s talking.
“At what point, in the church, will we begin to call arrogance sin?”
I feel the question to my bones.
“It’s easy to pick on topics that aren’t personal to us. There’s plenty that I don’t deal with. It’s easy to point out. But pride? Arrogance?”
His hand is tightening around mine but he doesn’t notice.
“I would go so far as to say that the number one sin that holds people away from God is pride. And I’m not talking about unbeliever’s pride. I’m talking about Christian’s.”
The sun casts shadows and the barn floor glows pink.
“I’ve watched it happen. We snub our noses in business and say, ‘its not good business to deal with them’ and send our neighbors away from redemption.”
He kicks at a pile of straw and lime-dust rises.
“And I’m not pointing just at others. Me.”
He pauses and pain slices his face.
“My pride sends people away from redemption.”
After he leaves to get hay, I’m changing milkers and thoughts are swirling.
“How, God?” I’m asking. I swat the red heifer, tell her to stand still. “How do I not fall prey to the sins that eat away like a cancer? How do I avoid the very things that the church ignores?”
Avoiding the “labeled” sin is simple. Too blatant, too obvious and I steer clear automatically. But hidden stench? The pride that slinks through my heart?
Just today- my thoughts filled with arrogance. And its not that the thoughts came but that I allow them. I excuse them. I try to make them acceptable instead of tearing them out of my heart in horror.
But what if I slap the label on my own sin? What if I start calling myself to account for the hidden things that take up residence in my heart?
If I label my pride as sin, approach it with horror instead of apathy, will it help the church as a whole?
Every change begins with a person.
God, oh, God, hear my cry. Cleanse this heart. Don’t ever let my broken sinfulness send someone away from redemption. Let my life draw them in.