Matthew 23:12: And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
It was one of those nights, but thank God it was the last time I would see the inside of a jail cell as a result of my lifestyle.
We typically think of pride as something someone would struggle with who is successful, drives a nice car and lives in a nice home, etc. But someone who is homeless, a drunkard, a drug addict with no job sitting in jail could have pride at a level much higher than the prideful successful person.
I can remember the anger that I had toward the officer processing me into the parish jail, like it was his fault that I was in jail. I was so filled with anger and hatred toward the world. If a happy family was walking down the street and I walked by them it would make me angry because they were so happy. I know it sounds terrible but that’s the way it was. I was full of pride, arrogance and anger with no hope in sight.
After I was processed, a number of us were placed into a large room to get stripped down and sprayed with something that would kill anything that might be on the inmates’ bodies; such as, lice, crabs, etc….. I know this sounds really gross but I have to paint the picture so you can get a glimpse of how dangerous pride is. As I am writing this, over 14 years has passed and I remember what would happen in that cell with all these other men next to me like it was yesterday. I looked around; angry at the life I was living and couldn’t believe that life had come to this again. You see I had been locked up many times hoping that the last time would be the last time. I was standing in the middle of about 20 men and there was a short, young, nice-looking Hispanic guy next to me. In the middle of my selfish, angry, prideful, and hopeless world I did an inventory of everybody in that cell and then looked down at the Hispanic guy and told him “look at the scum in here.” He then looked up at me with a confused look on his face and said “dude, you are one of us.” Hard to believe that someone in my position would make a statement like that but that’s exactly what pride does to man. It makes you very unattractive to those around you and Gods word says that He resist the proud. It was only two days later when God would radically change my life but first I believe with all my heart He used a Hispanic man in a New Orleans cell to humble me. Who knows it could have been an angel!!
I can’t tell you how many times someone may come into our drug treatment program, look around and say, “I’m not like these people.” The ones that believe that they are not as bad as those around them have no hope for a future until they see themselves for who they are. The apostle Paul said “I am the chief of sinners”…he also said “oh wretched man that I am”. You see Paul recognized his need for a Savior! Pride is the very thing that will keep us from moving forward in life. You do not have to be homeless or in jail to need to move forward. You can own your own business and be very wealthy or the pastor of a large church and pride can have you stuck. Let it go and let God take you to another level. Pride was the first sin and it brought mankind great sorrow. Sadly, it may be the last sin for many who deny Christ and refuse to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ