From one man God has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring. (Acts 17:26-28)
Pride knows no boundaries. It will find any area of one's heart in which to grow. And when it grows, it will produce the deadliest fruit. Some people think they are better than others because of how they look (Pride of Face). Others find a reason for prideful attitudes in the fact that they own more or better material things than others (Pride of Lace). And today we look at the concept of exhibiting pride because of one's status or location in life. We can call this Pride of Place.
Most of us are competitive by nature, at least to some degree. One point of rivalry is found in where we were born, or where we live. It is good to find pleasure and joy in your location. God has created a wonderful world. We have often developed those places with arts and other attractions that bring a feeling of community and significance. There is nothing wrong with having a good sense of self-worth knowing that you come from a place with a great heritage. But pride, or exaggerated self esteem is not good.
People will often go from being glad about where they are from to being arrogant about themselves because of where they are from. They then begin to look down on those who came from other places. They make fun of others, making disparaging remarks. They breed distrust and even various levels of hatred in the way they talk about others. Now some of this is joking, but much of it is not funny. It plants a seed in the minds of people that there is something wrong with certain people because of where they are from.
Pride of Place does not simply refer to region, state, or a certain side of the tracks. It can refer to a station or place in life. Some people have achieved a certain location in life and look down on others who never arrived at that place. It is not uncommon for those who have spent their life climbing the academic ranks to look down on those with little or no education... or even discounting those whose education is at the same level, but from a different university. Pride of Place can refer to a career status. It can pop up in relationship status. Remember, pride knows no boundaries. It doesn't care where it grows, only that it divides us from others, from ourselves, and from God.
We aren't better because of where we were born. We had absolutely nothing to do with where we were born. God caused us to be born in certain places. He moves us around. He gives us opportunities for education and finding our place in the world. And He doesn't do it so we will be prideful. If God caused you to be born in the south, it wasn't so you could disparage people from the north. If He caused you to be born in the north, it wasn't so you could make fun of people from the south. If you do exalt yourself or lower others based on such things, you are exhibiting Pride of Place. God put you where you are so you would find faith in Him, not fault in others.
Certainly for the Christian, who has obviously come to the best place of all in Christ, there is no place for such pride. We are here to delineate a way to Christ for people from every place, not drive a wedge between them and the Gospel. Not only is it important for us on a missional level, but it is also important as children are very impressionable. And they, upon hearing us put down those from other places can (and will) find their way to a place of pride.
Today, love people from every place. Imagine your life had you been born elsewhere. How would you want to be treated if you were from another place. I've often found that the people we would look down upon are actually above us in many regards, because God gives grace to the lowly, no matter where they are from.
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My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.