Pride can be a tricky thing.

Animals definitely exhibit a sense of pride in their accomplishments. Photo via Flickr.com, used under the Creative Commons license.

Animals definitely exhibit a sense of pride in their accomplishments. Photo via Flickr.com, used under the Creative Commons license.

Pride may keep us from admitting defeat and spur us on to overcoming adversity.

Pride may allow us to exceed others’ expectations of us.

Pride can let us lift up the successes of a loved one’s achievements.

So we can see how it is a positive trait.

But at the same time, pride may keep us from accepting help when we need it.

Pride may cause us to take a joke more personally than intended.

Pride may keep us from reconciling with a friend.

This Sunday’s lectionary reading is Matthew 1:18-25 which is the story of Joseph seeking to dismiss his betrothed because Mary is with child and he knows the baby is not his.

In any relationship today, if there is perceived infidelity, pride becomes wounded and it becomes very difficult for the relationship to recover.  Joseph, however, dreams about Mary and sees the truth.  He re-commits to their relationship and will serve as the earthly father to Jesus.

Even with the dream, I think it would be difficult to serve in this role.  When they moved to Nazareth, would Joseph claim Jesus as his own child or would he try to tell people that Jesus was the son of God?  How believable would that be?  

Joseph would have had to wrestle with his pride over paternity if he told the truth of the relationship.  He might feel as if he were being unfaithful to God if he didn’t.

Jesus later learns not to let pride hamstring him as he handles criticism with polish.  Did he learn this from Joseph?

This Sunday, we will finish our series, “Preparing for Presence” (I can’t believe this already the fourth Sunday of Advent) as we look at how the Incarnation may help us choose compassion over prudence.  My sermon title will be “Pride Can Be a Lonely Road.”

In Christ,
Sam

To read more of Sam’s articles, visit
http://precedinggrace.blogspot.com

Photo via Flickr.com, used under the Creative Commons license.