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Topic: Pride (04/12/04)
TITLE: A Diamond Among Graphite
By Bobbye Terry
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Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
A Diamond Among Graphite
Remember the story of the Prodigal Son? Most say the parable illustrates God’s forgiveness and unconditional love. The son leaves home and engages in riotous living, only to be brought down to servitude. He ends up having to feed the swine and survives by eating what others don’t want. Finally, he comes back home, asking for forgiveness. His father accepts him back, and celebrates his return. Now, there was also a second son, one who stayed home. He became angry when his brother received preferential treatment. After all, son number two rationalized, he stayed behind and worked, lived a “perfect life,” serving his father.
What the parable tells us is much more complex than the obvious. In addition to demonstrating God’s unconditional love, it shows us that God knows we aren’t perfect, and he knows we will stray from the path of righteousness. Ask yourself this question, who was the better son—the one who left and came back for forgiveness, or the proud one who remained and felt resentment towards his brother? Neither was better or worse than the other. They both sinned, but it was the son who came back home who knew he’d committed a sin and asked for forgiveness. Son number two was living on his self-made laurels, thinking he was better because he’d worked hard at home. That demonstrates pride, and as Proverbs 16:18 tells us, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Each of us needs to find peace with ourselves. That only comes by uncovering and admitting our own weaknesses, then asking for forgiveness. No one is a paragon of virtue, and we must be careful not to think we are better than anyone else.
Although stumbling through our own messes is not pleasant, those learning experiences may in fact, strengthen our spirit. Think about a piece of carbon. When it’s left alone free from pressure, it is soft like graphite, the lead for a pencil. Under extreme pressure, it becomes a diamond, durable, reflecting light back to all around it. We must look toward the rock from which we are cut, and, whether we are diamonds or graphite, we have to remember that all have the same chemical composition. You see, we all have that same bright light shining in our hearts. He is in us and we are part of him.
Guide me each day and keep me from feeling too proud about what I accomplish. Instead, let me learn from my mistakes and know that what is truly important in life is the ability to reflect the heavenly light in my heart back into the hearts of those around me.