The breaking of pride:
Perhaps pride is the greatest of all sins, and it is enough to know that it was the reason for the fall of satan, as well as man. The prophet Isaiah tells us about the fall of satan” How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit” ( Isaiah 14:12-15). We also see how pride brought down man when the serpent persuaded Eve and Adam to transcend by disobeying God’s commandment”… Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked… Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken” ( Genesis 3:4-etc).
We also ﬁnd that this sin was the reason of the dispersion of people on the face of all earth and the divergence of their languages, which Is what is read in the story of the Tower of Babel, where we see the roots of pride preceding the transcendent human’s behavior. The Book tells us about Cush” Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.” And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar… Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth” ( Genesis 10,11).
The seriousness of the sin of pride is the attempt of the sane creation – such as Angels and man – to become like the almighty God. But how can the creation become like the Creator?! This does not mean that God is worried about His Godly position, for He is Self Sustaining and does not need other creatures to provide Him with glory, honor and prostration, for His glory and honor are absolute, but Saint Paul the apostle says” For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” ( Romans 12:3). God with His benevolent and loving nature created the Angels with the heavenly creations as sensible spirits to have the honor to be close to Him and to praise and glorify His Holy name with endless joy and acclamation, they are glowing creatures that derive their spark from the continuous standing in the light of God. And the Angels who stayed steadfast in their absolute obedience to God, lasted in their ranks, but ” lucifer” who was an archangel who became arrogant because of his knowledge and separated his thoughts from God the source of light and understanding, thinking he might become like the Most High…. And fell. There was no reason for his downfall but his self-pride, for he was from the cherubs who are full of eyes, meaning knowledge. From here Isaiah wondered about his fall asking ” O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground” ?! And because Satan was full of knowledge, he was fully aware of the seriousness of his arrogant behavior, so he lost his rank along with all the Angels who followed him, becoming the chief of all demons, resisting God till the end. This he has no salvation but it has been prepared for him and his soldiers an eternal lake of brimstone and burning ﬁre.
The reason for the resistance of God to pride and arrogance is that they are the work of satan and his followers. Therefore, saint Peter the apostle says in his ﬁrst epistle” Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” ( 1Peter 5:5-6).
As for the poor man, although he has fallen as a result of the sin of pride, yet he has been given by the merciful God a chance for salvation. Firstly, because the human element is weak, which is the body that was created from dust. Secondly, because man was seduced by the old serpent; the devil. Seduction is wrapping up a lie with what appears to be the truth. Jesus called satan ” a liar and the father of it” ( John 8:44). Therefore God sees humanity as being captured because of it’s lack of knowledge, for free, and because of that Christ the Son of God came to save us, paying the price because of His great love to us without expecting anything in return. Thirdly, in the Divine process of salvation, God dealt with the human pride with His wondrous humility, ” but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” ( Philippians 2:7-8). And we saw the Master washing and drying His disciples’ feet, and here we realized that way to be with God in His humbleness and humility is as He says ” Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will ﬁnd rest for your souls” ( Matthew 11:29).
The haughtiness of the spirit:
The Book tells us in Revelation about the angel of the church of the Laodiceans referring to the haughtiness of their spirits” Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” ( Revelation 3:17). This is one of the most dangerous problems that affects man, where he feels self sufﬁcient. It’s inner blindness which is lead by a haughty spirit. How miserable is such a man who is lead astray from his way to the kingdom of God. Here we hear the words of Jesus Christ in His Sermon on the Mount” Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” ( Matthew 5:3). My beloved, it is ﬁtting for us as heavenly kingdom seekers to walk with a meek and humble spirit in our lives, walking away from pride and any haughtiness in spirit, starting from within and ending with all our actions, words and how we deal with God and people. For it is good for us to know how to be humble before God in our prayers with an alert spirit and mind, and the willingness of our body to submit to the presence of the Lord most High, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Here, we enjoy kneeling before God, thanking and praising Him for His goodness, forgiveness and His unlimited love. And it is ﬁtting for us also to grasp to the Cross in our prayers, kissing it a lot because it is in the cross that God has revealed His love for us, with absolute humility for our salvation. We also must acknowledge our weaknesses, sins and iniquities and our breaching of His commandments, with a lowered head and lots of tears asking for Him to have mercy upon us and to accept our repentance and forgive us our sins.
As for dealing with ourselves, we must know with certainty that everything that is well and good in our lives is a gift from God and we are His stewards, whether it was a talent or spiritual virtues or on the materialistic level whether it’s health, money, relatives, friends, homeland, knowledge, job or any work we do, all are from God’s abundant love, we are merely stewards for them all, and we will be asked about the extent of our faithfulness for all what we were given, for the time will come when we hear the voice saying” Give an account of your stewardship ” ( Luke 16:2). From here we do not have pride in ourselves for everything has been given to us by God for free. And even if there was glory or dignity offered to us because of what we have, we must return it to the source of it all; to God. Isn’t that what the church teaches us in the prayer of thanksgiving?! ” Let us give thanks to the beneﬁcent and merciful God” praying from the heart and declaring in front of the whole world that” But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” ( 2 Corinthians 4:7).
Let us have a humble and meek attitude towards others ” Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” ( Romans 12:10). Also it beﬁts in our humble lives to take the last row seat, feeling that others are better than us, for the last row seat is for whom who has a humble mind and soul. Haven’t we heard Saint Paul speaking about himself as the ﬁrst of sinners, and despite of his weariness more than all the apostles, he reminds himself that he is a fallout and the last of all.
The voice of David the prophet rings a bell” The sacriﬁces of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise” ( Psalm 51:17). If only this verse becomes the verse of our lives, it is then that God will lead us in the way of His victory to a happy eternity after we have known the humility of the heart and afﬂiction of the soul, not haughtiness.