I wrote this essay for literature class, but I decided to post it on here, as well… enjoy!
Pride, In the Name of Love
In Donald Miller’s book, Blue Like Jazz, Donald writes about and analyzes many aspects of Christianity and how they affect people. In one section of his book, he talks about how we can become too proud to receive God’s grace. We think we can handle life on our own, without God’s help and direction. This realization impacted me deeply when I read it. It opened my eyes. Do I shake my head at God’s willingness to help me? Do I say, “No thank you, I got this?”
I’m a perfectionist. Failure terrifies me. In school, friendships, and yes, even in my relationship with God, I crave perfection. I study hard for good grades on tests and papers. I try to be the best friend I can possibly be by talking and spending time with my peers. I pray, read the Bible, and am involved in many ministries at my church. I work hard for everything I do and am happily satisfied when my hard work pays off.
When I receive excellent grades in math and science, I am elated. I am relieved and blessed when my friends and I can work through a problem successfully, without drama and miscommunication. When a person comes up to me and asks me to help in another ministry at church, I feel honored that they come to me with a huge responsibility. I wouldn’t change one thing, because my life, over all, is great.
Because I’m a perfectionist, I feel the urge to do things all by myself. In school, I rarely ask for help, because I have the desire to figure it out on my own. I over think, over analyze, and
over edit every single paper and homework assignment I receive. It’s not that I don’t trust other people to help me, but rather, I don’t usually see the need for help. I want to do things the way I envision it in my head and see to it that the tasks are finished as close to perfect as possible. I never realized that this was a sin struggle until I read Blue Like Jazz. My eyes were suddenly opened when I read a particular chapter, entitled “Grace.” I began thinking clearer and more openly.
I struggle with pride. The fear of failure proves that I hate being vulnerable. I want people around me to believe that I have it all together. I want them to see that I do not fail. I don’t want to be seen as weak and helpless. How horrible of a thought is that? I never thought about it before, which is ironic and shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, considering that pride is when one is completely blind to their own faults and won’t admit when they are wrong. I have condoned what is holding me back from living fully for God.
I lack humility. I think I have it all together; but when I fail, I sadly realize that I don’t. It frustrates me when my plans don’t work out. It annoys me when, after numerous attempts at trying to perfect something, I just can’t make it work. I try to live my life without any faults, trying to go my own way, planning my own future, and scheduling my own success. There is a humongous error in my thinking. I use the word “my.” My own way, my future, my own success. Who am I to think that this is my life? Who am I to say that I am in charge of my future?
Jesus Christ exemplifies humility. He could’ve come down to Earth as a king with popularity and many riches, but instead, he chose to be born in a manger, with a carpenter as a father and sheep as pets. Jesus didn’t have to die on the cross, because He had never done anything wrong. He hadn’t failed in any way, shape, or form. He was benevolent and perfect and yet he chose to die for the sins of His people. In the band U2’s hit song, “Pride, In the Name of Love,” the lyrics state, “One man come in the name of love, one man come and go. One come he to justify, one man to over throw. In the name of love; what more in the name of love?” To die a humble death for proud and arrogant people is ultimate and perfect love.
Don Miller writes in his book, “As I drove over the mountain that afternoon, realizing I was too proud to receive God’s grace, I was humbled. Who am I to think myself above God’s charity? And why would I forsake the riches of God’s righteousness for the dung of my own ego?” (85). I feel the same way as Don. God says time and time again in the Bible that He is there for us, wants to help us, and wants a relationship with us. Who are we to say no to the God of the universe? Who am I to say that I’m too great for God?
As I finished Blue Like Jazz, I was sitting in an airplane, thousands of feet over the ground, staring out the window. It was nearing dusk , so the sun was setting over the clouds. The scene was breathtaking. The person sitting next to me was reading a book and listening to his iPod, oblivious at the beauty that was taking place outside of the small, eight-inch window. I was lost in wonder as I watched the sunlight reflect off the clouds and make stunning images that a thousand pictures would never be able to capture.
The realization that I am a prideful human being hit me again while staring at these clouds. God made these clouds and the sun. He made the whole Earth with its majestic and awe-inspiring places. I am just a meager girl with a huge ego and not enough humility. As the sun set and the person sitting next to me flipped to the next chapter in his book, I closed my eyes and refocused on what’s important.
I concluded in my prayer that I no longer wanted to be self absorbed and prideful. I yearned for God to be first in my priority and focus, other people to be second, and myself to be last. As the plane landed safely onto the runway, I was no longer the self absorbed and prideful
girl that had boarded a plane two hours earlier. This new girl that stepped off the plane and strolled into the airport was different, because this girl was determined to keep God at the focus of her whole existence.