“No matter what the topic of the sermon was,” my friend told me, “the preacher always turned it into a talk on sexual sin. Then one day he left town with the wife of the chairman of the Board of Deacons.”

An acquaintance of mine maintained a constant refrain of “Praise Jesus” and otherwise seemed over the top with verbal spiritual exclamations. Given an opportunity he had an affair and left his wife. Then he was angry when people looked for a sense of repentance feeling he had done nothing wrong.

This week yet another prominent evangelical teacher and church leader felt the sting of a reversal of the publicity that evidently he craved when it was the other way. He showed righteous anger a couple of years ago while condemning his former boss and mentor. Now the flying fickle finger of fate points at him.

At first he and his board of elders tried to finesse the problem away. Give a half-hearted and quick acknowledgement of a “wrong decision” and then just continue on as usual. Except—when you’ve made yourself prominent, people are watching. And secrets eventually come out. I anticipate another quite public forced resignation of a pastor and the board.

The question really isn’t about such leaders. It’s about us. We all harbor some amount of pride. Ancient people knew the destructive power of pride. Yet, even those who teach about it fall by it.

It is worth looking in the metaphorical mirror daily and trying to answer truthfully the question of at what point during the day did I let pride interfere with my humility. It’s not if, but when. And what am I going to do tomorrow to defeat it.

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