What she said next made me think she felt intimidated (maybe not), "I have been teaching this class for many years and I know the answers for the questions that you may have. But, please don't interrupt, you can ask your questions at the end of class, when I am thru telling you God's truth." I was intrigued by her accent and her use of colloquialisms that were unfamiliar to me. But, at times, I got lost in what she said as she introduced her lesson and the way that her body position displayed a person of authority.
Now, there are many ways that this post that I am writing could go. This post is not about this Sunday School teacher and my probable misunderstanding of her possible pride as I am sure there are so many things culturally that I missed. This story is so rich in cultural/spiritual/psychological applications. I enjoy studying cultural anthropology and coupling it with my counseling and my feeble attempts at representing Christ to others. I try to understand people without looking thru my white, middle class, American male biases.
Nevertheless, this post is about my pride.
That evening, as I lay in bed, swatting mosquitos feeling very uncomfortable in the sweltering humidity, I was reflecting upon my experience that morning in Sunday School. I got to thinking, "she was a very proud woman. She had no formal college education and lives in a small village teaching in a small church in a small island country. She has no reason to act so proud." With that thought, I clearly heard in my head a reprimand from God that filled me with remorse over my own pride. Who was I to judge this woman who has been teaching God's Word for years?
God has clearly stated, "So when you, a mere man, pass judgment and yet do the same things, do you think that you will escape God's judgment?"
As I continued to listen to God that evening, I felt God's loving reproof for attitudes that I had been displaying. It wasn't much of a struggle because God's Holy Spirit was on target and I needed correction.
He was right.
At times I become prideful and God doesn't have to say much to remind me of how He has worked and is working in my life. Just a simple recollection of that woman or my time in Jamaica usually gets me back on track and less self-protective.
Protectionist attitudes, IMHO, represent a spiritual dysfunction. I believe God protects our reputation if we serve Him in humility.
C.S. Lewis puts it much better and serves as a reminder, "How is it that people who are obviously eaten up with Pride can say they believe in God and appear to themselves very religious? I am afraid it means they are worshiping an imaginary God."