Hey friends — I was on the 700 Club this week talking about Take Every Thought Captive! I hope the segment blesses you. Watch here.
I knew I was wrong. But, changing course and admitting wrongdoing, I knew, would hurt too much to do. Why? During the whole course of the discussion, I defended my position adamantly. I was so sure. I made myself out to be a saint with all the right answers…but now? Now that I was beginning to see the light of my error? Grr…
It’s embarrassing to feel caught and exposed. Like a wild animal caught in a cage, flashlight probing its eyes, all one can do is stand there, not sure of where to go. Like this animal, I paced around in my mind, considering what to do. Will this person still think good things about me? Will they berate me after I admit: I was wrong? Will my opinion still be valued going forward? Will I have to radically change — and, can I even make this change?
Sometimes, it’s easier to deny wrongdoing than to admit it. Sometimes, it is easier to keep pride than to give away ego. Sometimes, it is easier to maintain your sense of self than to die to the flesh.
I think Nicodemus, when talking to Jesus, may have understood these feelings.
“Now there was a certain man among the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler (a leader, an authority) among the Jews, Who came to Jesus at night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know and are certain that You have come from God [as] a Teacher; for no one can do these signs (these wonderworks, these miracles—and produce the proofs) that You do unless God is with him.” (John 3:1-2 AMPC, emphasis added)
Nicodemus said, “We know…you have come from God.”
This means, there was more than one Pharisee or religious leader who knew the truth about Jesus — but, they were not saying anything!
If the Pharisees “knew” why keep it a secret? Why not come out and say, “This man, Jesus, is from God?” Why not announce, “Only one from God can do the works this man does!?” Why not tell all, “Certainly, God is with this man”?
There is only one reason, much like the reason I had for not speaking up — pride.
Pride that thinks:
If we are wrong about this man, what will the people think about us?
If He is from God, what will we mattter anymore?
If all know that God is with Him, how will we have to change?
If He is more than us, what will happen to us?
Pride kept the Pharisees from fully receiving Jesus.
That’s what pride does. It keeps us from admitting, receiving and confessing truth, even when we blatantly know it is true. Pride makes us preserve our flesh rather than die to it. I wonder, how often has pride caused you to deny, rationalize or to hide away because you don’t want to get hurt?
Friends, I know pride. I know what it is to want to stay safe. I, probably like you, have been hurt in the past. Yet, I know this — when we are honest, we free ourselves. We free ourselves from shame, from fear, and from circular mental traps. Remember, it is only the truth that will set us free.
The Pharisees full-out denied Jesus out of pride. It is easy to point the finger at them, but how often do we do the same thing?
What truth, may you need to admit, in that hard moment, even though it feels like it may kill you?
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (Jo. 3:30)
Prayer: Father, forgive me of my pride. Give me the power to decrease so that you may increase. Just as Jesus died to Himself, help me. Just as Jesus laid down defenses, help me. Just as Jesus humbled himself, may I do the same. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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