"But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him, who is the head--Christ... Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor because we are members of one another. In your anger do not sin." Ephesians 4:15, 25-26.
I struggle with pride. We often think of a prideful person as someone who struggles to admit when they are wrong or loathes correction. I have wrestled with each of these. My pride creates a desire to perform well when it is motivated by fear of man...truth says God is pleased with Christ in me. (Matt 3:17) My pride leads me to take on too many tasks when it is motivated by a need to prove myself to God and others...truth says I'm justified through Christ (Rom 5:1). Pride sends me to a self-depreciating, emotional state because of my desire to be enough to God and others...truth says nothing can separate me from God's unfailing love in Jesus (Rom 8:39). This deep seed of pride was revealed to me by the Holy Spirit through close community with other believers.
The verses mentioned above have been pivotal in my discipleship journey. We are commanded to speak the truth in love. We have all failed at some point to speak truth with love as the motivator. In addition, it is likely we have all failed to receive truth without unrighteous anger bubbling to the surface. In Ephesians 4:25-26 Paul calls us to speak truth in love and in the very next sentence cautions readers with one of the most recited verses on anger: be angry and do not sin. It's as if Paul knew receiving truth was hard! Unrighteous anger can surface and it's root is pride. I am free to speak truth lovingly and receive truth with humility because I am secure in my identity in Christ, through belief in the gospel. With the right heart motivation, speaking truth and receiving truth is actually loving. (1 Jon 3:18; 1 Cor 13:6)
Friction and conflict are components of a healthy gospel community; sharpeners. (Prov 27:17) The beauty is, conflict provides an opportunity for our sin to be brought to light. In a healthy gospel community we get to fight sin together through accurate application of scripture with the Holy Spirit as our helper. I can tell you first hand, any bit of progress I have made in my pride struggle is credited to God and his design of community. I praise him for the truth-speakers in my life who lovingly call out my sin, who walk along me as I fight to believe the gospel and apply scripture, and who remind me of my identity in the perfect person of Jesus.
Jesus, your kindness leads me to repentance. I confess the pride that surfaced even as I struggled to write these words. Holy Spirit guide us as we grow in speaking truth lovingly and give us the grace to receive truth with humility. Quickly convict us of our unrighteous anger and pride in the process. God, thank you for your unfailing love and grace through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. -Amen
By Haley Negron