One of mankind’s besetting sins goes by various names in Scripture: stubbornness (Ps. 78:8), stiff-necked (Deu. 9:6), hard-heartedness (Mk. 3:5), impudence (Eze. 2:4), and uncircumcised in heart (Act. 7:51). This is the sin of pride, the insistence of doing things our way, rather than God’s way. We form our ruts and routines and feign our righteousness and insist that our god fit in with our schedule. We want our religion to meet our preferences, suite our tastes, coddle our sensibilities.
The stiff-necked man will dig in his heels and will not humble himself to hear the truth about himself. He doesn’t want to hear that his habits are rooted in selfishness. He doesn’t want his cushy existence interrupted. He doesn’t want his enjoyments and diversions called sin.
Man does this in manifold ways. We describe our loose lips as concern for brother so-and-so. We disguise the vile content of our entertainment as the way we unwind after a hectic day. We doll up our envy in the airbrushed medium of Pinterest boards and Instagram snaps. We deny that our stress comes from fear of being found out for cutting corners, loafing, or fudging the numbers.
It’s been said that the measurement of your humility is the amount of time between when you realize you have sinned and when you confess it and make it right. The stubborn, stiff-necked, hard-hearted man or woman will not bend, and in so doing they put their pride on full display. Pride sets itself up as a rival god, but God will not share His glory with false gods. But the man or woman whom God humbles will find grace to bend. And if God bends you, you’ll find that even the guilt and shame felt over your sins will have been God’s grace to You. So bend, or be irreparably bent.