I’ve heard an old saying for years that the opposite of love is fear. This morning I was thinking on that as I read my Bible study, but it occurred to me that the true opposite of love is pride. In our pride (which doesn’t always mean that we necessarily think of ourselves highly — in fact we might think of ourselves poorly), we focus on ourselves, what we perceive our needs are, what we feel that we should be able to have–dare I say it, but that we deserve it? But, “The Lord detests all the proud of heart”. (Prov 16:5a)
Last week I talked about making up a list of my sins that I asked the Lord to show me so that I could repent. The list was long. But as I looked through the list and studied it, what came up over and over again is that all these sins boiled down to pride. “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7b) So when I get angry that some felt need of mine isn’t being met, I am thinking of myself more than others, and certainly more than the Lord–and that is pride.
This morning this verse really spoke to me: “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart You, God, will not despise.” (Ps. 51:17) The Lord doesn’t want us to be broken and in a heap, what He wants is that we humble ourselves–think less of ourselves and more of Him. He must become greater, I must become less. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:10) Notice it doesn’t say we will exalt ourselves, nor look for “atta boys” from others. Our reward will be in heaven. So we are to guard our hearts so that they do not become prideful and hardened. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Prov 4:23)
Instead of pride, the Lord wants us to be humble and to love. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And the second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31) In order to love as Jesus told us to love, there isn’t any room for pride or for a me-centric life.