Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.
There are several reasons why this proverb bears out, but consider one reason today. Haughtiness is foolishness; humility is wisdom. To be haughty is to be “scornfully and condescendingly proud.” It is not merely to recognize your own skill to be better than others, but to actually consider others as lesser beings. You despise them merely because they are not as adept in some particular skill that you are or because they have backgrounds that seem beneath you.
This is a poor attitude for a number of reasons, but again, it actually makes you foolish and thus more likely to take a spill. You will overestimate your ability and take foolish risks. You will deny yourself the benefit of other persons’ skills. You will cut yourself off from good relationships and partnerships. You will not prepare for the future, failing to see that you are likely to lose whatever great gift it is that you possess. Thus, you are setting up your own destruction.
Humility is wisdom because it frees you up to see clearly what are and what are not your strengths. It allows for you to seek the help of others. You forge strong relationships and partnerships; you think now how to prepare for the future. You win the respect of others, and, thus, you are likely to receive honor.
But where foolishness and wisdom are most realized is in one’s standing before God. Scripture makes plain that he will destroy the proud and raise up the humble. This may play out in one’s earthly life (which it often does); it certainly will occur in the day of judgment, at which time there will be no opportunity for repentance. Thus we see the greatest folly of the haughty person who thinks that he can actually outwit God.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2022 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org