The Sin of Pride

Plaza de Iglesia

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall — Proverbs 16:18

I was sitting in the Plaza de Iglesia en Puerto de la Cruz when a crazy person, probably high on drugs and drink, came up to me and thumped me hard in the face. No apparent reason for this unprovoked attack.

The side of my face red and swollen. A trip to two police stations to report the assault. It could have have been worse. There were two of them, with at least two more waiting in the wings. I could have been beaten to a pulp, they could have used knifes, they could have seriously injured me, I could have been killed.

Suffering is part of the human condition. It how we handle it that determines us as human beings.

An hour earlier, I had been sat in the same square on the same seat. It is a pleasant place to sit and relax outside the church under the palm trees.

A girl came and joined me. She was living on the streets. She told me she has not eaten for three days. I gave her what I had, the remains of my lunch.

I then went and had a delicious zuma de naranja in nearby El Limon.

I had done my good deed of the day, I felt pleased with myself.

The Sin of Pride?

Later I sat by the sea reflecting upon what had taken place.

One act of kindness, especially by a total stranger who owes us nothing, restores our faith in humanity. One foul deed, and we distrust all humanity.

I had two books with me:

The Alchemist graphic edition – Paulo Coelho
The One Big Question – Bishop Michael Baughen

Both had passages relevant to what had happened.

Santiago sits in the plaza, tries to read a book but is distracted by the Old Man who wishes to talk to him. I was distracted twice, once by the starving girl, second by an elderly German lady who sat next to me.

Bishop Michael Baughen writes of suffering. The passage I read whilst sat in El Limon was of one act of kindness restoring our faith in humanity.

Sadly, when people say, of some act of kindness, “it has restored my faith in human nature”, you know that restoration will not last! Human nature can rise to astonishing heights of good, but also sink to abhorrent depths.

Whilst I sat by the sea, the passage I read in The Alchemist was of Santiago being robbed of his gold, but he decides not to let it destroy his faith in humanity, to distrust those who approach him.

When I had my sheep I was happy, and I made those around me happy, people saw me coming and welcomed me.

But now I am sad and alone. I´m going to become bitter and distrustful of people because one person betrayed me.

Santiago learns to overcome what happened to him. He wanted adventure and this is the start of a new adventure.

It is the human condition to suffer. It is to test us. It is what we make of it that determines what we become. It is what both Paulo Coelho and Bishop Michael Baughen in their different ways show us.

Things happen for a reason.

The One Big Question
What’s So Amazing About Grace

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6 Responses to “The Sin of Pride”

  1. lambskinny Says:

    Perhaps distrust is a sin, too?

    • keithpp Says:

      The Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins: anger, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. Used since the early days of Christianity to educate and instruct followers in the tendency to sin.

      The Catholic Church divides sin into two categories: “venial sins”, which are relatively minor and can be forgiven through any sacramentals or sacraments of the Church (as well as through prayer and acts of charity), and the more severe “grave” or mortal sins. Theologically, a mortal sin is believed to destroy the life of grace within the person and thus creates the threat of eternal damnation.

      Pride (Latin, superbia), or hubris, is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the source of the others.

      For Lucifer, pride (his desire to compete with God) is what caused his fall from Heaven, and his resultant transformation into Satan. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the penitents were forced to walk with stone slabs bearing down on their backs to induce feelings of humility.

  2. suzanneas Says:

    the sin of pride….

  3. Adriana Campos Says:

    What a beautiful story.
    Suffering is a strange tool of God. I have learnt it can elevate us, as the priest said the other day in his sermon , or it can sink us the worst possible way when we consider ourselves victims of circumstances or people.
    It is up to us to decide what path to choose: the one leading to make of us better people, or the one to avenge ourselves filling our life with hatred or bitterness.
    The final decision is ours and depends on our attitude towards it.

  4. keithpp Says:

    I actually offered to take her with me, where I went for a drink, but she declined.

    Although I was hungry, I gave up the remains of my lunch, as I knew I would eat later.

    But what was happening, as I learnt later, the men were making her beg for money, when she had enough, they would send her off to buy wine.

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