Bob Tamasy: The Real Root Of All Evil

Thursday, September 26, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

There’s a common misconception the Bible teaches money is the root of all evil. What the passage (1 Timothy 6:10) actually says is, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” There’s a big difference.

Throughout history money – the love of it, that is – has served as stimulus for many forms of evil: Greed, envy, jealousy, unethical behavior, arrogance, murder, robbery, burglary, muggings, bribery, extortion, and many others we could name.

But if there’s a singular root of evil, it’s not money. It’s pride. If you look at the list above, you’ll note in one way or another, each form of evil is a manifestation of unhealthy pride, unrestrained emphasis on self and self-interest at the expense of others.

This isn’t to be confused, of course, with proper expressions of pride – like satisfaction with a job well done, or being pleased with the accomplishments of a loved one. But pride presents its sinful side when “I” and “me” become paramount.

We see pride manifested in competitions for “biggest” and “tallest,” for instance. The Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (did you know there was such a council?) reported developers of new super-skyscrapers all over the globe are installing huge, useless needles atop their buildings in a quest to market their structures as the world’s tallest. The still unfinished One World Trade Center in Manhattan and Dubai’s Burj Al Arab are just two examples.

At this time of year, football fans across the country are caught in “We’re No. 1!” hysteria. For some reason, when our favorite team excels, it’s our chests that get puffed up.

Even some churches display pride in its worst forms – practicing one-upmanship with the size of worship facilities, flaunting statistics about membership and baptisms, even seeming downright self-righteous about “correct” doctrine, traditions and teachings.

This is hardly new, however. If you believe in the biblical story about what theologians call the “original sin” and “the fall of man,” it seems the first sin was not disobedience by eating the forbidden fruit, but Adam and Eve’s being suckered in by a prideful appeal.

In Genesis 3:1-7, the serpent (Satan) approaches the first couple and asks, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Eve replies they were told to avoid only one tree, explaining God had said, “you must not touch it, or you will die.” Then the serpent responds, “You will not surely die…. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

At that moment pride, in all its insidiousness, reared up. The passage doesn’t record this, but I can imagine Adam and Eve eyeing each other and saying, “Hey, that’s right! Who does God think He is, anyway? Who is He to tell us what to do?” The rest, as they say, is history.

In his classic book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis stated, “There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people…ever imagine that they are guilty themselves…. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves…. The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit; and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility.”

The world around us tells us pride is okay, even commendable. “Look out for yourself,” the mantra advises. Baby Boomers (I’m a card-carrying member) have been called the “Me Generation,” describing our zeal for “self-realization” and “self-fulfillment.” But for those of us who have become followers of Christ, such attitudes pose a contradiction. If we take a deep, honest look at Jesus, pride should be instantly dispelled. His life – and death – personified humility.

Jesus had every reason to burst with pride, to “lord it over” everyone around him. But instead, God incarnate became humble. As Philippians 2:8 states, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.” He calls His followers to die to self as well.

The Old Testament records what God said about pride: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

God says, “If you want to be proud – be proud about that!”

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


Christians United For Israel To Host Pastors' Luncheon

The Northwest Georgia-Greater Chattanooga Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Planning Team invites area spiritual leaders to a Pastors’ Luncheon on Wednesday, Aug. 24 at noon at the Dalton Golf & Country Club.  An additional luncheon will be held on Thursday, Aug. 25 at noon at the Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Embassy Suites in Chattanooga to encourage Chattanooga area pastors. ... (click for more)

Dr. Larry Bergmann To Speak At Christ Unity On Sunday

Dr. Larry Bergmann will be the speaker and Meg Braun will provide  special  music this  Sunday at Christ Unity, 105 McBrien Road, at the  11 a.m.  service. Lawrence E. Bergmann is a minister, counselor, author and speaker. His work with the Unity movement has spanned four decades and has taken him to the far flung corners of the world. ... (click for more)

Man, 28, Shot And Killed In East Chattanooga

A 28-year-old man was shot and killed in East Chattanooga early Friday morning. The victim was identified as Jeremy Clark. At 1:20 a.m., Chattanooga Police officers responded to 2008 Glass St. on a person shot. One victim was found suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead on the scene. Police said investigators were gathering information on the potential ... (click for more)

Election Officials Awaiting Amended Financial Disclosure From Siedlecki After GOP Files Complaint

Election officials were awaiting an amended financial disclosure form from Democratic assessor of property candidate Mark Siedlecki after county Republicans said he accepted far above the legal limit from a corporation he heads. Mr. Siedlecki met Thursday with Election Administrator Kerry Steelman and said the amended form would be in sometime Friday. Marty Haynes, the ... (click for more)

Olympic Events On The Ocoee River Made History – But It Wasn’t Easy

It started with a simple “what if” question while Atlanta officials were working on a bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.  A group of amateur kayakers from the city began asking themselves: “What if Atlanta’s bid is successful? Then where would the Olympic whitewater canoe and kayak races be held?”  To some of the members of that group, the answer was obvious. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mr. Siedlecki, Sit Down!

This is a personal thing but one of my pet peeves is the little advertising stickers I sometimes find on the top of the front page of my newspaper. An editor at the newspaper has already determined a bit of news he or she feels I should read. And then the sticker covers it up so I have to peel it off before I can read “All the news that is fit to print.” As I groveled over my ... (click for more)