Tag Archives: Pride

“No Insult Like The Truth” by Charlie Peacock — No drug as strong as pride, no blindness like conceit

“No Insult Like The Truth” By Charlie Peacock

I’ve run my ship aground
on the rocks of the soul
There’s no lie like independence
there’s no demon like control
I’ve fanned the burning embers
til my house was on fire
There’s no parody like power
There’s no fever like desire
I’ve drained the wine of darkness
to the dregs of deceit
There’s no drug as strong as pride
There’s no blindness like conceit

I’ve railed against the mountain
With a pickaxe and a file
There’s no minefield like presumption
There’s no death wish like denial

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

I’ve adjusted my prescription
til I couldn’t trust my vision
there’s no killer like convenience
there’s no sickness like omission
I’ve amended resolutions and resisted explanation
There’s no trap door like emotion
There’s no pit like reputation

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion
There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

This is part of a series dissecting the song “No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock. In the series, I am taking two of the statements he makes and exploring the depth of meaning behind them and what I can learn about myself in the process.

Dear God, in English classes in college I used to be critical of literary criticism (no pun intended) and think that people were intentionally trying to make something out of an author’s piece that the author never intended. Sometimes a rock is just a rock and not the hardness of my soul. I bring that up now because I can’t help but wonder if I’m doing that with this song. Am I taking things that aren’t there and putting them there. If Charlie were to read what I’ve written about this, would he fall over laughing and pity me? I don’t know. But I guess the reason I’m doing this isn’t because of what he intended in it, but to see if there is anything that the Holy Spirit has to say to me through these words that Charlie wrote down years ago. I suppose reading poetry and literature isn’t always about what the author intended to say. Sometimes it’s about what their words say to me.

There’s no drug as strong as pride

I think there are two things that give drugs their power. First, there is the effect they have on you and then there is the addiction they create to maintain that effect. So what does pride give me? What is the effect it has on me? One big thing I think it does is make me numb to the needs and feelings of others. If I am prideful then I don’t care how my actions impact others. Their feelings must be sacrificed for my pride, and if that’s not good enough for them then they can leave.

A few years ago, I heard a public figure who claimed to be a Christian say that he had never found a need to ask you for forgiveness. Well, dying to yourself and crucifying your pride is ground zero/step one for a Christian. If I don’t need your forgiveness then I don’t need Jesus. He wasted his time on me. Of course, that is ridiculous. But holding on to pride numbs me from how my actions impact everyone, including you.

I went to a presentation on how to administer a drug called Narcan, which will save someone suffering from an opioid overdoes. They compared the effect opioids have on your brain with the vacuum tubes that lotteries use for selecting lottery numbers. The vacuum tubes suck the ping pong balls onto themselves and don’t let go. Apparently, that is what our neurons do with opioids. They suck them onto themselves and don’t let go. This masks whatever that neuron is supposed to be communicating, including anxiety and pain. Narcan’s role is to come in and almost instantly knock all of those ping pong balls off of the vacuum tubes. Within about a minute, all of those neurons are instantly experiencing everything the opioid had been masking. They said that after you give someone Narcan, get out of the way because within 60 seconds they will be really alert and angry because all of the pain and/or anxiety will be back in an instant.

I think I could make the argument that pride is the same way. When I decide to come to the foot of your cross and die to it…When I decide to lay down my self and embrace your Spirit then I am going to allow myself to realize just how many people I have hurt. Unlike Narcan, I don’t think the effect is instant. It’s something the Holy Spirit gets to work on with me over time. I am still discovering ways in which I hurt others and disappoint you, even 40 years after my baptism. You are still refining me and pulling out the dross. But none of it starts until I make that first step. There is no drug as strong as pride.

There’s no blindness like conceit

As I stop and think about the word “conceit” I think about the political situation in our country–especially among non-politicians. The hypocrisy is epidemic, and it’s on both sides. There are moderates who can look at and evaluate people objectively, but it seems like the most vocal people, whether they are the media themselves or those who have a lot to say on social media, can’t see beyond whether or not the politician in question has an R or D next to their name. For example, Republicans were merciless towards Bill Clinton and his philandering (and alleged sexual assaults) in the 90s while Democrats defended him. Now, Democrats are all over President Trump for philandering and alleged sexual assaults while Republicans defend him. There is a conceitedness among both sides. They can’t admit weakness. They can’t show vulnerability. They also can’t extend love and mercy to someone with the wrong political letter (D or R) next to their name because their conceit blinds them from seeing the log in their own eyes or the eyes of those they support.

So that’s politics, but let’s bring it closer to home. What about me? Where does my conceit blind me? I know I judge others all of the time. I judge them for being shallow and making poor decisions. I judge them for not humbling themselves before you. I do it all out of conceit. I used to judge parents whose children were struggling until I went through parenting struggles of my own. Yes, as I said earlier, the Holy Spirit is still working on me and revealing my sin to me because my conceit makes me blind.

Father, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for my pride. I’m sorry for my conceit. I’m sorry for my pettiness and meanness that are really just symptoms of the shame that I try to numb with my pride. Administer the Narcan of the Holy Spirit to me. And as the absence of pride and conceit reveal the insecurities and pain that were being masked, please help me to heal.

In Jesus’s name I pray,



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The Binding – Genesis 22:9-18

The image above is from Redeemed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-ups by Ned Bustard. This particular piece of art was done by Kevin Lindholm and is called “Knight of Faith.”

Genesis 22:9-18 [NLT]
9 When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 11 At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!”
12 “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”
13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
15 Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven. 16 “This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that 17 I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants[a] beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. 18 And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.”

Dear God, I’ve spent some time with this story in the past. So much time, in fact, that I’m curious to see what I might have missed.

It’s interesting to me that Bustard chose, in this book’s telling of the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac, to start with their arrival at the place for the sacrifice. I’ve usually spent more time in verses 1-8 than I have 9-18. So what is here that I might have missed in the past? Or what have I seen before of which you need to remind me?

Verse 9 alone must have really done something to alter the relationship between Isaac and Abraham. Frankly, I’m a little surprised that Isaac even worshipped you after that. If I had been him, I would have thought my dad was crazy and that would have included his worship of you. If I try to imagine this scene, it’s horrific. I almost need to just set that aside before I get deeper into the story because if I start to look at this story through Isaac’s eyes it freaks me out a little.

The thing I’ve noticed in this story in the past is Abraham’s possible idolization of his son and the promise that you gave him about his descendants. In verses 1-8, as he is lying to Sarah, to the servant, and to Isaac; as he is walking for a few days to reach the site; as he is eating and talking with Isaac; as he is silently thinking and praying; I am sure that he was doing a lot of repenting and wondering how much he had failed you by taking his eyes off of you and giving in to his own vanity.

With all of that said, let me see what I notice in this image:

  • The most prominent thing in the image is the knife. It seems like it’s the first thing Lindholm wants me to see. The knife, gripped by Abraham’s fist. Something horrific is about to happen and I don’t think the artist wants me to miss that fact.
  • The next thing I notice is Abraham’s face. He is staring up. Is the look in his eyes desperation? Despair? Anguish? Surprise?
  • There is a hand with two fingers touching Abraham’s hand. The fingers are no bigger than Abraham’s. They are a different color.
  • There is the boy. His eyes are closed. Given the comments I made earlier about the horror of verse 9, it would have been an interesting choice to leave Isaac’s eyes open. Did Lindholm consider that? Was that perhaps just too hard to see so he closed them instead? Was Isaac just waiting for the end? Another choice would have been to make Isaac look afraid. Terrified. But Lindholm chose to make him asleep. Interesting. Perhaps he envisioned that Abraham knocked him out.
  • There is the ram, already there, with his horns stuck in the thicket. If I had been the artist I might have shown a larger, more dense thicket, but perhaps Lindholm is suggesting that you didn’t need to do much to provide this ram for the sacrifice.

In the description of this picture, Bustard quotes Tim Keller: “God saw Abraham’s sacrifice and said, ‘Now I know that you love me, because you did not withhold your only son from me.’ But how much more can we look at his sacrifice on the cross and say to God, ‘Now we know that you love us. For you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love, from us.”

Father, search me today and help me to see what I have not sacrificed to you. Which parts of my vanity are still too important to me? Deal with me gently, Father. I know I am proud. I know I am vain. I know I can be selfish. Help me, Father to not get to a point where you have to go to these lengths to get my attention and repentance.

In Jesus’ name I pray,



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