Agreeing with Love: Pride
"But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in. They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the Lord God.”
Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the Lord’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the Lord had afflicted him.
King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house—leprous, and banned from the temple of the Lord. Jotham his son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land."
2 Chronicles 26v16–21
Each moment exists within some sort of relationship. Maybe the most obvious being an exchange between one to another, her to him, or them to the others. But even in instances of solidarity, our very atoms dance with those around us. This is why God as three is so powerful. A metaphor, a picture, a reminder that Godself, in Godself, is good relationship. And that we're destined to join in, to agree with Love in all moments because all moments find their home in God. Including us.
Pride then is the rejection of that Dance. It's the refusal to listen to the music playing as we stubbornly put in our own headphones and run away to find something we assume will be better (a way of thinking that our culture idolizes.)
In today's story, Uzziah (the King of Judah from 783–742 BC) and a good man, found himself in a moment of required response. A moment where he had to choose how to respond. He was being confronted by a group of people (that longed to know God, or loved God) for his acting in a way that was clearly blocking his agreement with Love because it made high (pride) thinking of himself in a space where he was to be submissive, the receiver, and the servant.
Looking at the words of verse sixteen in Greek (the original language this was written in) it reads closer to, "When he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly and he was unfaithful to the LORD..."
Uzziah felt safe, secure, and full from something other than God. It is possible for this to happen – but, it has cost. Everything has cost. In this case, it required him to confront then what value God had for, or to, him. Yet only one place remained, second place. Himself first, God under him. Thus, pride led him to act corruptly, which literally means to act in a way that destroys, ruins, and decays.
God is the dance of Love and we've been, and are now being, invited to participate.
We get to choose our thinking, which leads to our acting.
What does it look like to believe God today? To believe what He says is better than what we can see? To believe God even when we feel hurt, attacked, or shamed?
Will we let go of our stubbornness? Our control? Our cares of what people are thinking or what they may think of us?
Father, here I am.
Jesus, I trust you lived the best way.
Holy Spirit, I'm listening.
Like light shining through a blanket in a dark room making it obvious where the holes are, make me aware today of the holes in my own thinking. The thinking that is slowly cementing in me which I can no longer recognize on my own. The thinking that is leading me towards destruction, ruin, and decay. I want Life and I embrace the fact that it means letting parts of me die.
Lead me today away from thinking of myself more highly than You God.
And walk me hand and hand into Love, into agreement and participation with You, others, and all of creation.
Here and now, I say yes to You God for this moment.