Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #33 We All Fall Down

MAY 2014 Your 50 Favorite Proverbs

True confession? I wouldn’t choose this verse as a personal favorite. It’s so…well, negative. A cautionary word. A warning.

Good thing you wisely voted for this one. We all need a reminder of what happens when our pride goes unchecked and sends us tumbling.

Since pride is a universal issue, I’m including photos from Scotland, New Zealand, Israel, and Portugal. One wrong step, and we all fall down.

Pride goes before destruction,
    a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

Scotland Steps

Pride goes before destruction,…

The Lord doesn’t say pride sometimes results in destruction. No, it’s a guaranteed outcome: “If you are proud, you will be destroyed” (NIRV). A always leads to B: “First pride, then the crash” (MSG).

As I’ve said before, I believe every sin has pride at its root. This verse from Proverbs 16 brings that truth home. Pride is “the first step” (ERV) down the wrong staircase, the one that leads to  “disaster” (CEB) and the inevitable “sorrow” (WYC) that follows.

Here’s the good news: by the power of God’s Spirit, pride can be put aside in favor of humility, and that dangerous descent can be avoided. At least, in theory.

New Zealand Steps

…a haughty spirit before a fall.

Pride begins with “an arrogant attitude” (GW) and results in ”failure” (CJB) every time. Especially this time.

Flying from Cape Town to Johannesburg on a discount airline, I could pack only 40 pounds in my checked bag, so my carry-on bag, stuffed with books, weighed a TON.

When we landed and prepared to disembark, the airline didn’t point us toward the jetway. Oh, no. They dropped a long, flimsy set of stairs from the back of our big plane leading down to the tarmac, about eight feet below.

No railing, no sides. Lots of steps. Heavy carry-on bag.

I took two steps down before the male flight attendant at the bottom saw my dilemma and started up, his hand outstretched to take my bag.

A smart woman would have stopped at that point and waited for help.
An even smarter woman would have asked for assistance before starting down.
But a foolish, prideful woman thinks, I’ve got this, and takes one more step.

Steep Steps in Israel

Then I lost my balance. Over the side I went, carry-on bag still in hand, plunging toward the ground head first.

My thoughts at that moment were concise.
This is it. This is how I am going to die.

Seconds later I landed with a sickening thud.

Miracle #1: I survived.
Miracle #2: I could see and hear my surroundings.
Miracle #3: I had movement in my neck, back, and knees.

If I’d just let go of that carry-on bag, I would have been injury-free except for some very colorful bruises.

But I hadn’t let go. I’d hung on tight, not only to my hand luggage but also to my pride. That heavy bag? It crushed my right foot, causing permanent nerve damage.

Portugal Steps

When God tells us, “proud thoughts will lead you to defeat” (ERV), he isn’t kidding. His Word assures us, “a proud attitude brings ruin” (EXB) and “an arrogant spirit gives way to a nasty fall” (VOICE).

It certainly did that day in South Africa.

God is ever faithful. By his grace, he allowed me to live and gave me the strength to walk again. But my three crooked toes are a constant reminder that “If you are proud, you will fall” (NIRV).

The lessons I learned? Be humble, not prideful. Ask for assistance. Accept help when it’s offered. Be grateful when you are rescued. Very grateful. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34).

Bless you, Lord, for catching me, for sparing me, for teaching me. Forgive me for my foolish pride, for my stubborn attitude, for my unwillingness to admit I needed help. Thank you for a tangible, visible reminder that, “the bigger the ego, the harder they fall” (MSG).

Proverbs 16:18

Now it’s your turn

  • When has pride plunged you headlong into disaster?
  • What did God teach you in the process?

Bless you for taking a moment to share your thoughts under Post a Comment below.

Your Printable of Proverbs 16:18 will take just a wee bit to download. All of the Proverbs we’ve studied so far are waiting for you on Pinterest!

Thanks SO much for your patience regarding this week-late post. While touring Scotland, I discovered that high-speed Internet in the Highlands is not easy to come by! Now that I know where I’ll find it (and where I won’t), next week’s post should arrive on Wednesday, as promised.

Tour Group 1 - Highlands and Islands, Castles and Gardens of Scotland

Meanwhile, we had a fabulous time with Group One. Group Two is arriving today! I hope you’ll follow our fun journey on My Scottish Heart on Facebook.

Your sister, Liz
@LizCurtisHiggs #50Proverbs

Your sister, Liz Curtis HiggsBibleGatewayBloggerGrid MAY 2014 Your 50 Favorite Proverbs
Love being part of (in)courage!

20 Responses to Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #33 We All Fall Down

  1. Brenda :D May 20, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    Several years ago I’d been listening to the radio on my way to church. I was still singing the lyrics when I exited the car and made my way toward the church, “What if I stumble?
    What if I fall?
    What if I lose my step and let make fools of us all?
    Will the love continue
    when the walk becomes a crawl?
    What if I stumble?
    And what if I fall?”
    and, of course, my feet slipped out from under me (icy weather), flew up in the air and I landed with a big heavy sliding THUD – right on my fanny. And all that JUST IN TIME for a couple from church to drive up and see my cold-weather gymnastics!
    I had a firm grasp on my purse and Bible, but not my pride. 😉
    I think the most important thing I learned at that moment is that God loves to laugh WITH ME!

  2. Susie May 20, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    Oh, how I love your pics of the staircases! (I took so many stairway pics on our Scotland adventure and will share them soon! Especially amazing were the spiral staircases in the towers …) I am thankful for your honesty and your challenge to me to not just say, “I had an accident” but to see that my pride gets me into troublesome positions far more often than I like to admit!

    I started this morning reading slowly through the book of Esther (figured it was a good follow-up to the teaching you did for us on Ruth and Naomi), and my immediate impression was of Xerxes’ pride. Oh, how he wanted to show off all his wealth and power!! Really? a 6 month feast with about 200 high-level guests??? I read the first 5 verses and thought, “But THEN …” knowing that tomorrow’s verses will show that despite all his power, his wife’s response to his request would quickly show all those people that he DIDN’T have as much power as he claimed to have. I’m always glad that there isn’t a Bible “book of Susie” that is a written record of MY pride, and MY falls!! But He is good and will always pick me up, no matter how far I fall!

  3. fannie May 20, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your humble and healed experience. I have been doing aerobics for 20 years and I boast it to my husband about my health and muscles. Surely, the Lord humbled me a few years ago by having my left leg experiencing SI joint pain. It took a whole year for me to heal and I kept asking the Lord to give me extra grace and healing for my injuries.

    The Lord is good and now I learn to be humbled and lean on His grace to live everyday.
    My SI joint pain is gone. Praise the Lord.

  4. Leigh May 20, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    Pride gets me in trouble because it tempts me to bite off more than I can chew. Instead of stopping to ask God what he wants me to take on, I pile commitment on top of commitment until I can’t handle it anymore. And then I and my family both pay a price. It would be much simpler if I’d just learn that there are only so many things I can do for God’s glory, wouldn’t it?

  5. Susan May 20, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

    I agree that pride in some form is at the root of all sin. For me, my hardest lesson in pride falling was when I was 13 and lost one of my best friends because in my prideful heart I could not apologize – even though I knew I was wrong. I have never forgotten this lesson.

  6. jaime May 21, 2014 at 12:30 am #

    All i can say is ouch. We’ve all heard and used the expression” all I hurt is my pride” but sometimes that’s the most painful thing to hurt. I have so many moments but one sticks out only because 30 years later i still hear about it. It was the first week of school and I was a proud, stubborn seven year old. Did I mention graceful and invincible? We had to practice jumping out of the back of the bus. I was wearing cowboy boots and a jean skirt. I had a metal lunch box. I refused the offered hand and jumped. Needless to say, I slipped. I would’ve preferred landing on my butt. However, I landed in such a way that my rear was in the air and my face hit my lunch box so hard, it was jammed and we never did get it open after that. I can laugh now but I wasn’t then. Unfortunately, I’ve had many falls since but they are getting fewer.

  7. Blanche Hake May 21, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    Pride has a way of creeping into our lives, and before you know it, it causes one to crash. I have learned this lesson well, but sometimes it still takes hold, especially when one is independent and doesn’t ask for help because it makes one look weak. I love this proverb!

  8. Sue Holbrook May 21, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    O Liz… how many times I’ve failed to take careful note of the circumstances around me. My kids joke about it. One of the more recent: I stood in front of the Cracker Barrel restaurant so I could wave goodbye to my daughter and grandchildren as they rode by. We were going our separate ways after enjoying breakfast together. I stood there waving like the queen and they pasted slowly, waving back, watching as their grandmother took a step back, collided with the curb and the next minute was lying on her back staring at the sky. Nothing was hurt but my pride. Between by husband and half a dozen of the many Cracker Barrel patrons that morning, I was returned to my feet, able to slink off to our car to listen to my husband’s admonishment that I really needed to be more careful. Right. We all fall down. Blessedly, most of the time we’re able to get up!

  9. sherri May 21, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    Liz, We all need a reminder about pride and humility. And just think, if this verse wasn’t one of the chosen, you wouldn’t be able to share your airplane story –as painful as it was, but it is a good object lesson for this verse and may help someone! Sorry you had to go through that, but it is a perfect example of this verse.

  10. Christina Anderson May 21, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    I was absolutely filled with pride. Didn’t I live in a lovely home in the mountains West of Boulder? Couldn’t I ride anything on four legs. Hadn’t I given pipe-organ concerts in the Air Force Academy Chapel, the Cathedral of St. John, plus numerous other venues? Couldn’t I play pretty much what I heard without need of music? But I was also married to an atheist, had no Christian friends, no church. Oh, I believed all right. But on my terms. I went my own way much of my life without ever asking for God’s direction. On Oct 12, 2003, God allowed me to have four strokes, one right after the other. But He didn’t let me die in my sin. He raised me up. True, my speech isn’t quite as clear as it once was, and i have to ride horses that no longer buck. But he took me out of that Godless, loveless marriage, placed me in a house where I hate to live, in a church where I have a lot of Christian friends, and He listened to me as I confessed my many and terrible sins of the past. I am truly a walking miracle. I live alone with my six cats and I am able to look after myself. I still ride and I hike every weekend up in the mountains. God has enabled me to forgive my ex-husband who dumped me after the strokes. I may not like where I live, but I know I am exactly where He wants me at this time in my life. I have learned to see God’s Perfect Will as opposed to His Permissive Will. And my pride has been shattered. I know who I am. I am God’ forgiven, redeemed child. It is His grace that raised me up from those strokes, provided me with a home and a church and enables me to meet each new day with energy and a hopeful outlook. Praise His Holy Name.

  11. Deborah Duke May 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    Easter 2014 will be remembered for missing church because of pride. Wanting to go to the sunrise service even though my husband didn’t caused me to have a car accident in my very own driveway. I forgot that my son’s car was parked just to the left rear of my car, I pulled out of the garage and hit it. His 2013 beautiful blue car with marks down the driver’s side and my car with marks down the passenger side. I am thankful we have insurance and they are being repaired as I write this note, but I also learned a lesson about pride and asked my son to forgive me and my Lord. Debby

  12. Julie Sunne May 21, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    As I read your story, Liz, I could see myself so clearly, the whole I-can-do-it-myself, prideful self. What an important lesson this is for so many of us.

  13. Kathy May 21, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    Oh Lord, keep me humble. Help me not to stumble! I’ve stumbled quite a bit through my years but Jesus was there to pick me up when I fell. Keeping a humble spirit is a good thing. Help me Lord to be more humble everyday. Amen

  14. Lina May 22, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    Well Liz, this surely is one of my favorite verses. I usually appreciate it after I have egg on my face once again. In fact recently my boss yelled at me due to a major Miscommunication and I cried all the way home. Thankfully I fell on my knees in prayer all night long I had been so upset and knew my retaliation ability was on high alert… never good. But God pointed out to me how I had once again gotten too big for my britches and I hadn’t noticed it. This was a humbling and important reminder. It hadn’t looked like pride this time, but it surely was… I was very thankful for the reminder if not in the delivery. =)

  15. Susan Gruener May 22, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    Believe it or not 44 years ago, on rally at a Christian College we did a ‘yell’ to this very verse. It’s stuck with me…although I probably have ‘slipped’ a few times. Your fall over the ‘side’ made me gasp! So glad He decided we needed you more than He! 🙂 I’m sorry for your nerve pain and problems…not fun those ‘thorns in the flesh’… So glad you are enjoying Scotland and I am once again so jealous of those ladies in the photo. 😉 Maybe one day I will get to join you there!
    Praying blessings and protection on you all!

    • Becky (Rebecca) Frith June 5, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

      Oh Susan we can surely praise the Lord that LIz survived that fall! I dread to think of all the lives that would have been so bleak without her encouragement since that fall….mine included! God takes care of us every day and we don’t give Him the credit. In our pride we just go about our business without stopping to thank him for the air we breath and the ability to breath it. We fail to accomplish His will because we don’t seek His guidance. Oh I wish we all would learn the first time so we would not fail and fall again. I so pray that I may join Liz and you on a trip to Scotland in the future.

  16. CarolAnne May 22, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    Oh my goodness, thank Heaven your angel was right there waiting! I am uncoordinated so I fall over air, and can feel your “ouchies”, and know how the bruise marks go through all the colors of the rainbow. Thank you for these verses,and the beautiful photos, and please be careful! I have heard that lightly taping the toes together sometimes helps with the pain. xo

  17. Marie Cohoon May 22, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    There is no way to count how many times I have thought I knew the answer, didn’t need anyone, would rather die trying than ask for help. It’s not a strength, but a weakness, and well I know it. I have prayed about it, and know my Father can take it from me.

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  19. Regina June 6, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    In my case, pride came before a plop. — I tried to outsmart kiwi.

    One of my true joys is cooking for people. And I like to think I’m pretty good at it. I especially love to theme food to an occasion. So when an opportunity arose for me to bring a dessert to a St. Patrick’s Day gathering, I decided to put a spin on an old favorite and make Strawberry Pretzel Salad, but with kiwi’s instead.

    Confident in my cleverness, I re-googled the familiar recipe to make sure I didn’t forget anything. When I did, I noticed a cliff-note on the page informing me that kiwi can’t be mixed into jello. There’s just something about kiwi that keeps jello from setting. “That’s ok.” I thought to myself. “I’ll just put sliced kiwi’s on top when I’m done.” Ha! Take that you tricksy little fruit!

    I had it all figured out.

    I proceeded to make a beautiful dessert. It was picture perfect. And just before leaving the house to go to the party, I carefully arranged my sliced kiwis on top of their perfectly set gelatin bed. Then into the car and away we go.

    It wasn’t three minutes later when, as slowing down to drive over a neighborhood speedhump, the whole top layer of my kiwi-topped dessert simply slid off…and onto the floor of the car.


    I watched it all happen in slow motion; equal parts bemused and horrified. I guess they were serious about that kiwi thing. But not only does it keep jello from setting, it will actually cause already set jello to become melty again. That certainly wasn’t in the cliff-note!

    So what did I do? I pulled over to the side of the road, had a good laugh, picked up the floor mat on that side of the car, unceremoniously dumped the slimy green mess on the grass, and arrived at my destination with a topless dessert…and a story.

    I learned to heed instructions. (and not to try to outsmart science…at least where kiwis are concerned.)