She might have looked like a sweet, docile woman, but when it came to finding a bargain, she was ruthless. A woman went on a shopping trip in the Florida Everglades in search of a pair of alligator shoes. The only problem was the merchants — each wanted more of her money than she was willing to part with. After unsuccessfully haggling with one shopkeeper, the woman concluded, “Alright, I’m going to go and shoot an alligator myself so I can get alligator shoes for free.”

On the way home that evening, the shopkeeper noticed the woman’s car parked by the side of the road. He stopped his car, walked over to the nearby bayou, and froze as he heard a gunshot. Seconds later, he saw a woman jump in the water, drag an alligator to the shore, and flip it on its back beside seven others. She had no sooner flipped the animal on its back than she exclaimed, “Oh no! This one doesn’t have shoes, either.” She had gotten more than she bargained for, and yet she walked away empty-handed. This is the way pride works.

Pride has a way of reducing us to the level of brute beasts. It impairs our judgment and our ability to function, causing us to reject God and hurt others — and make regrettable choices. In Romans 1, the danger of pride is very evident. This sin leads to every manner of wickedness imaginable. Ultimately, God will give a proud person over to a reprobate mind so that his heart is hardened towards his sin. Then he will receive God’s judgment.

Like the woman who killed the alligators, pride will always leave others in its wake. How do you know when this sinister sin is lurking in your heart? By the way you relate to God and others. Chances are, if you cannot stand to hear Biblical teaching or you cannot let go of an injustice which has been committed against you, you have pride. Confess this to God before someone gets hurt. Don’t allow pride to get the upper hand in your life, or you will also walk away empty-handed.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.