Two words come to mind when we consider the parable of the prodigal son “Pride and Pride”
One son is full of such pride that he arrogantly asks his father for his inheritance before his father is dead and goes off to live wildly in a foreign country until one day he “comes to himself” which means he finally comes to his senses and realizes the error of his ways. His thoughts turn toward his father, “will he receive me back at least as a slave?”
Humility brings him home to a loving, waiting father who welcomes back with open arms and a celebration like he had never seen. But don’t forget the other son. The other son who had been home all along is so angry that his wayward brother is received and welcomed back in such a way, his pride drives a wedge between he and his father as he pitches a pretty good size fit because he has never been given such a party and he has been faithful to stay home. His pride states he deserves better of his father than what he is getting, after all in his eyes he is better than his brother!
Pride can blind us to sin and drive us away from our heavenly Father; humility will open our eyes and bring us home. Spiritual pride can blind our minds to the truth, and cause us to think we are better than others or we deserve better from our Father; humility says I serve my Father because I love Him, not because of what I can get from Him.
What is the solution to help me get over my pride and back to my Father? Jesus tells us step by step how to do it in this example: "When he came to his senses, he said, “…I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.” (Lk 15:17-19) What you will find is Father waiting to receive you with open and loving arms. It’s journey worth taking.
Dr. William Burnham is pastor of Point of Grace Church in Covington. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.