How to Avoid a "Titanic" Mistake
Just before midnight on April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg sending it to the bottom of the North Atlantic. Even today, there continues to be tremendous interest in the ill-fated vessel. With the exception of Noah's Ark, the Titanic has intrigued more people than any other vessel in history.
Experts of its day hailed this "ship of dreams" as "practically unsinkable". One seaman even went so far as to say: "God Himself couldn't sink this ship!" Thomas Andrews, one of the Titanic's designers, boasted: "The ship is as perfect as human brains can make."
That's why the morning after the sinking, most people refused to believe the "unsinkable" had actually sunk. Even the Wall Street Journal printed an optimistic report: "The gravity of the damage to the Titanic is apparent, but the important point is that she did not sink."
I read a book on the inquiry that took place immediately following the arrival of the Titanic's survivors in New York. After fully investigating the reasons for the sinking, Senator William Smith reported: "No drill or station practice or helpful discipline disturbed the tranquility of that voyage; and when the crisis came, a state of absolute unpreparedness stupefied both passengers and crew. . . . Indifference to danger was one of the direct and contributing causes this unnecessary tragedy."
Fast forward 100 years, and things haven't changed much. Our hearts push us with words like icebergs. "Never depend on anyone." "Save face at all costs!" "Stand alone." And the root of this advice?
Pride is like a cancer that permeates every part of who we are. It affects how we look at ourselves and others. It's what we feel when we've made a mistake but refuse to admit it. Pride causes us to stand our ground when we ought to ask forgiveness. Pride lashes out and spews illogical blather, because it has no real basis for battle. Pride can blind us into thinking the world owes us an apology - or that God does.
The old prophet Obadiah said it well: "The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in the loftiness of your dwelling place, who say in your heart, 'Who will bring me down to earth?'" (Obadiah 3). Speaking to those who felt they were unsinkable, Obadiah teaches us that pride blinds us to the truth.
Take an honest look at your relationships, particularly the strained ones. If you're honest, isn't pride lurking beneath the surface of it all? Isn't it pride that points the finger to everyone else but yourself? It's time to abandon a foundering vessel. Walk humbly with your God.
If we find ourselves on the ship of pride, we should listen to the warning of Fredrick Fleet, the Titanic's lookout: "Iceberg, right ahead!"
"The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. (Isaiah 2:17)
Copyright (c) 2012 Wayne Stiles