Last month I shared that being a good leader of the home involves making wise decisions. The most critical aspect of how to make a wise decision is being “plugged into” the One Who is wisdom personified, and that is Jesus Christ. Since He has a plan for each of our lives, we must seek Him to find out how He would have us lead our families. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).
There is a trap that is easy to fall into when leading our families. This trap caused a man to make one of the worst decisions ever recorded in the history of mankind. This man was warned not to make his bad decision, but because of his pride he would not listen. He knew what he should do, but he just couldn’t make the final decision properly. It was his pride that caused him to make this poor choice.
Pilate sentenced the innocent Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, to die a cruel and torturous death on the cross. God used a bad decision for our good as it was necessary for our salvation. God foreknew which decision Pilate’s pride would lead him to make.
Pilate’s wife had warned him. “When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him” (Matthew 27:19). In His mercy God gave Pilate a second chance to avoid making this horrible decision. Because of his pride, he would not listen to his wife.
Pilate himself knew that Jesus was innocent, “. . . saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it” (Matthew 27:24). Pilate called Jesus just! He had rendered the proper evaluation of Jesus, yet Pilate still made the wrong decision.
Pilate’s position of power was the most important thing to him, and the Jews knew it. “And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha” (John 19:12-13). Pilate’s love for himself and his position is what finally caused him to pronounce a death sentence on Christ, even though he knew Jesus was innocent and being falsely accused because of the Jews’ jealously. You see that in our pride, others are expendable for our selfish motives.
Pride is such an awful thing. It causes us to worry about what others are going say about us if we make a decision they don’t like. Pride is what makes us want to take a poll before we make a decision so we can keep our families happy. Unfortunately, we want them happy so they won’t cause us any trouble.
This is such a terribly sad thing to see in families. For example, what if the children want to watch TV and worldly movies? What if your children decide they no longer want to be homeschooled? What if a daughter wants to dress in tight, seductive clothes? What if the teens want to participate in youth group? I believe we are in agreement that our children can put a tremendous amount of pressure on us. Our pride, thinking of ourselves, may lead us to make the wrong decision. I wonder how many parents of a pregnant, unwed daughter have later regretted decisions they felt they were pressured into.
Please don’t misunderstand. Love for others and wanting them happy is a good thing. But if we are in a position of leadership, that is not to be the basis for a decision. We must be committed to make the right decision regardless of whether people like us for them or not.
All three of the decisions I mentioned last month could have produced people who were unhappy (ranging from disappointed to irate) with me, depending on what I chose. It would have been a safe decision, and easiest on the family, to have Sarah stay home. She would have been disappointed, but she was at peace with whatever I chose. Certainly I knew she would be thrilled to go. I felt God telling me she was to go. I rejected the windows, and as a result, the company discovered an easy cure for the manufacturing defect. Not only am I pleased, but others will benefit as a result. Lastly, I chose to stick to what I believe God’s leading was regarding the message board post. Yes, the woman was exceedingly displeased and expressed it with no little passion. However, it was the right decision.
The Jews would have been extremely upset with Pilate had he released Jesus. This would have been a real test of what kind of man Pilate was. I find that it is an incredible test for me, too, when I make an unpopular decision. About six years ago, I decided we were going to change churches, and the family was not pleased with my choice. I had agonized over the decision and believed the Lord was saying we needed to change, but the family was involved and comfortable where we were attending. I made the decision that we needed to change, and we did. Time has a way of proving decisions, and soon the family all saw that it was God’s plan for us.
I have also made poor decisions in the past because I struggle with pride. Two decisions in particular come to mind, and both had to do with one of my children. This child is very skilled at applying emotional pressure. Instead of dealing with the root cause, I gave in on both decisions. Over time my heart convicted me, and I asked that child’s forgiveness. In addition, the child and I jointly chose to reverse those decisions.
Pride will also lead us to make stupid decisions. “And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not” (2 Kings 20:13). Hezekiah’s pride caused him to want to show those representing the king of Babylon everything of value. In return, the king of Babylon would later attack and carry away all of the treasures Hezekiah had shown the Babylonian emissaries.
Pride may lead a father into purchasing a bigger house or a fancier car just so he might feel good about himself. We have also heard of wives who say that their husbands want them to dress immodestly to show off for other men. Those types of decisions can lead to situations that might be regretted in years to come. Severe money problems and moms who feel used are recipes for divorce. Just like Hezekiah’s poor decision, our decisions prompted by pride may not have immediate consequences, but the consequences will come nonetheless.
There is so much more that could be said about how our pride will cause us to make terrible decisions. However, we can see the serious danger our family is in when we make decisions that are influenced by our pride. “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2). Our Lord will give us the right decision if we will humble ourselves.
May we be men of God and pray, “Lord, may I cling to You and know Your mind so I may serve those You have called me to serve. May I protect and lead them in the way You would have them to go. Lord Jesus, enable me to be a man of God.”