Jul 19, 2013

The Burden of Pride and Despair

Martin Luther wrote that sin comes in two guises—pride and despair. The sin of pride displays itself in human self-deception that assumes we can live life fully and meaningfully apart from God’s sovereignty. As Proverbs 16:18 reminds is: “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

However, concerning despair—it seems harder to grasp. Despair, contrary to those who in pride say they have no need of God, takes the opposite tack. Despairing people say, “My life is so hopeless that even God is of no use to me.” Either way, in the sin of pride or in the sin of despair, people cut themselves off from God. This is sin’s essence: “to cut ourselves off from God” or “to alienate ourselves from God.” What makes us weary is trying to stay in control of everything. WE ARE TOTALLY IN CHARGE. Jesus’ gift of rest means we surrender to God’s grace in Christ.
In 1930 an unusual event took place. It still represents an open case in the FBI missing-person files. On August 15, after dining out with his family, a New York State Supreme Court Justice named Joseph Crater hailed a taxi and was never seen again. Over the years, the intrigue of the judge’s disappearance became so imbedded in New York City’s public consciousness that the term “Pulling a Crater” became slang for vanishing.

The FBI thought the disappearance might be work-related as the judge had heard many mob cases. But there was no real evidence to support that theory. All investigations led to dead-ends. Hidden in a bureau, his wife found several un-cashed checks, stocks, bonds, three life insurance policies, and a note from Judge Crater himself. The note listed his financial assets and then added: “I am very whary (weary), Joe.” That was the last anyone ever heard from him (excerpt from "Lay Down Your Burden").
Judge Crater needed rest. We admire self-dependence, but it is a trait that destroys. Yet Jesus says, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” In other words, surrender your pride/despair to Jesus who can help. After all, turning ourselves over to Jesus is when surrender means “Victory in Jesus!”



Pam Whitman said...

Thank you for this blog post! I really needed to hear it today (and yesterday, and tomorrow, and the next day....)!!

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