“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
Matthew 5:8 (NIV)
Mention Pride and Prejudice to many people and they will smile. If you are female the dashing Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy might well make you grin. However the gentlemen may well admire the feisty Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Literature critics describe Mr Darcy’s character as having an ‘aloof decorum and rectitude which are seen by many as an excessive pride.’ Critics describe Miss Bennet as’ intelligent, lively, attractive and witty but with a tendency to judge on first impression (the ‘prejudice’ of the title).’ Jane Austen weaves a romantic tale around the weaknesses of the two protagonists. Will they or won’t they marry – the reader is enticed as the story unfolds.
If God were a part of this story – how would he react to the character traits of pride and prejudice? The answer lies in His word. In 1Samuel 2:3 we read, “Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.” If you are still unsure of how God feels about pride, note the warning in Proverbs 16:5 ‘The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” There are countless references to pride and its negative consequences in the Bible.
The definition of ‘prejudice’ in the Oxford Dictionary is ‘preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience:’ i.e. judging. Jesus is succinct about the human tendency to judge. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1). The apostle Paul expressed tremendous insight into the human mind when he wrote, “You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.” (2 Corinthians 10:7).
There we have it, while we can enjoy reading Jane Austen, it is also worthwhile remembering to be ever vigilant that we do not follow the example of Mr Darcy or Miss Bennet – the outcome could be extremely costly in spiritual terms and I am sure Miss Austen would agree!
Great loving Father of us all, we ask that we can avoid the pitfalls of pride and prejudice. As your children we aspire to be pure in thought, word and deed, achieved only by the power of your Holy Spirit.
Worldwide Church of God Watford
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