Many people of Christian faith have heard of the 7 Deadly sins. I an sure others have too. But do we ignore them at our national peril? Lets list them and then review. This will be a series
I will start with Pride. There are so many examples of prideful thinking leading to the downfall of institutions lately but I will point to one very specific and painful one for the State of Pennsylvania and the nation. The allegations against Jerry Sandusky and because of “pride” the entire Penn State football program. You can not deny that it was pride that led the Coach and staff to ignore the doings of one of them. It was pride in the program and a willingness to ignore the potential wrongdoing that led to the collapse of the whole pillar that Penn State football was built on. It was also Pride that led the students to conduct a mass rally in support of Coach Joe Paterno.
Let’s evaluate the basis for the belief that excessive pride is a bad thing. The bible references the Garden of Eden as the first place that pride caused the downfall of man. Or should I say woman. The serpent tempted Eve with the apple telling her it would make her more Godlike. He pointed out the beauty of the apple and gave Eve the misconception that eating of the beauty wold make her see good and evil more clearly. The act of eating the apple by Adam and Eve was the first sin and was caused by Pride. How does this translate to our society?
There are countless instances of corporations, institutions and people being overly Prideful. Companies cover their transgressions, Enron is a good example (greed too but we will discuss that later). Pride can be the root of many an evil act.
Just recently a Councilman from Washington DC had his house raided in an investigation into embezzlement. Do you think pride was the basis for all his actions. He was elected to the seat his father held for three terms. He has been elected twice. That can give you a feeling of power and entitlement. This theme runs through the lives of many of our elected officials.
Look I will be the first to tell you I take pride in my accomplishments. But I am never so prideful as to not recognize others for theirs. Nor recognize my failure and acknowledge them.
Pride is the basis for many evil acts. It was the root of the apple incident in the garden of Eden, it was the root of the greed at Enron, It was the root of a Councilman taking funds from inner city programs and using it for his gain (allegedly). As you can see so much of what is wrong with the world stems from pride. We must instill humility in our children and our culture. Many books have been written about George Washington. Almost all of them speak about his reluctance to seize the mantle and become the President of the United States. Today people are way too willing to jump in the race. What is the reason? Pride! One good example of a man who knows he was not ready is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Chris jumped onto the scene with a series of moves that had many conservatives howling at how right-wing he was. Not long into his governorship the republican establishment called him a darling of the group and people began to whisper in his ear he should run. Chris went all over the country giving speeches and being slapped on the back by the party. But he knew all along his job in New Jersey was not done and that he was not ready to ascend to the level of President. He was emphatic all along. He would not run. But I am sure the whispers at some point became deafening and to a lesser man would become overwhelming. But Christie’s strong will and common sense told him to stay home and work in New Jersey to finish what he started.
Christie may not be a good fit, time will tell but for now he is a good example of a man who know his time and place and does not overreach due to pride.