STORY: How Pride Leads us to Believe the Wrong Story about Reality
Back in college (my undergrad at U.N.L.V.), I was a resident assistant (RA) in the dorms I lived in for 3 years. An RA is someone who gives direction and guidance to the residents on the floor—basically helps things run smooth (so people don’t kill each other) and helps them flourish in their relationships. My first year was incredibly challenging and our floor was chaotic: students left garbage all over the hallway, we had students punching holes in the wall, someone was getting drunk and peeing in the hallway, loud music blared all hours of the night, one student physically assaulted another individual and had to be removed, and so on. It was chaotic and unpleasant. Now all this was certainly a mixture of factors which led to such a challenging year, including my own failings and mistakes in leadership. By the time the second year came around I was ready to start fresh and learn from my errors and lead our floor forward.
To start the year out, we had a beginning of the year meeting with our residents to get to know each other and discuss floor expectations. We introduced each ourselves and talked about how we hoped the year would go together as community that worked together for the common good, looking out for each other and respecting each other. The meeting was going very smoothly and I was glad for a fresh start, then–to my utter shock–one of my former residents, one who was probably the most wild and distributive of all my former residents, walked into the meeting! To my horror, he basically took over the meeting, challenged my leadership, and began telling everyone about the disorder of the previous year. He waxed on and on, in his intoxicated state, about how dorm-life should be and how to make the most out of the year. He somehow thought it was his right to assert his place into the story of our community, a right that all of my freshmen residents even could see he did not possess. My former resident was sorely mistaken, and though he thought highly of his views and his right to make up his story for our community, he was wrong, and we asked him to leave (which he did). And the story of my second year of being an RA was drastically different then the first, but that is a story for another time.
Now, this mistake of imposing our own illegitimate and arrogant story is not unique to my former resident, we all do it in our own ways and situations. The root of such an error is PRIDE (thinking too highly of ourselves). And I’m sure we can all think of our examples of individuals who drunk on pride do the same thing, some to more extreme lengths then others.
I share all this because such a mistake, one rooted in pride, is the same mistake we as humans make today all the time, and it is why the world is in such a messed up and chaotic state. We have rejected the true story of reality and replaced with our mistaken prideful assumptions. We thought such a move would bring us joy, but it has only brought us pain.
How so? Well, let me briefly explain. I would argue that Christianity tells us the truth about reality, the true metanarrative—one that is true regardless of human opinions. The story is this: Before there ever anything, there was God—three persons united in love. At some point, not out of any need or want, God spoke the universe into being as an expression of his love and beauty and glory. He made us unique among all of Creation as those bear the image of God: we were made to know God and love Him and enjoy Him and His Creation under his loving care. But we have all turned from his goodness and truth and asserted our own story about reality, we’ve believed the lie born out of pride and arrogance that our stories will fulfill us and we can make up our own truth. And this has led to all kinds of chaos, destruction, and disaster. Our actions have estranged us from God, cut us off him, and led our hearts to doubt and question His goodness. So, what would happen? Would we be left forever cut off from God? No, the amazing the part of the Christian story is this: God, who is the author of reality, loved us and stepped into the story of history to rescue us. Jesus, whom Acts 3:15 speaks of as the “Author of Life,” and whom Col 1:16 says all things were made by and for him, came to us in love. He dealt with our pride and sin and love of self and falsehood, and brings us into the truth of reality and back into a restored relationship with God. He did this in love, and today he beckons you to come to Him and experience the true story of reality.