Pride is, perhaps, the most insidious of the sins with which we have to deal. And I say “we” because yes, we all have to deal with it at some level at some point in our lives. Pride keeps us from seeing that we’re headed down the wrong path. Pride also keeps us from asking for help, or even from accepting help, when we’re in trouble. Pride, as the saying goes, goes before the fall, and it can land us in some serious difficulty if we don’t work hard to eradicate it from our lives.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus clearly wanted to make sure his disciples were not bogged down with pride. Perhaps he was trying to keep them from following the behavior of the Pharisees, or maybe he even saw traces of pride at work in them as a group. Whatever the case, he warns them clearly that pride has no place in the life of the disciple.
Now, to be clear, he is not telling them that they can never pass judgment on anyone. Judging is a part of law and order, without which no society can survive. Also, he knows full well that rightly-disposed believers can and should stop others from heading down an erroneous or dangerous path. What he is saying, though, is that the rod we use to measure the other is the same measure that will be used on us, so it would be well to make sure that our motives are pure in all cases.
It’s a chilling prediction, I think. I shudder to think of the measure I sometimes use on others being used to measure me. But if I measure with love and charity and genuine concern, I know that I can accept that same measure on myself. It’s a good thing that’s the kind of measure God wants to use on all of us. And he will, if we lay down our pride.