Translation from the Book

Ὁ Θεός στήν Παλαιά Διαθήκη, Βοήθημα Κατωτέρου Κατηχητικοῦ Α΄,

ἐκδ. «Χριστιανική Ἐλπίς» Ὀρθόδοξη Ἀδελφότητα, Θεσσαλονίκη 2015, σσ. 30-35


  It is common nowadays that people speak more than one language. Learning one or more foreign languages is encouraged, because it assists communication among people who come from different countries. However, this was not always necessary. All people once spoke the same language and lived in the same place. This information is given in the Holy Scripture and it is supported by linguists. So, when did people start speaking different languages? The answer can be found in an incident described in the Old Testament.
 pyrgos Babel Noah’s descendants, blessed by God, were increasing significantly. Since they were too many to live in the same place, they headed southwest and settled in Senaar. But as time passed by, this land too wasn’t enough to accommodate them. So, they realized they had to disperse over different places. Before leaving they made an agreement to build a city with a tower which would make them famous.
  -Let’s build together a city with a tower. The tower should be so high that it will reach the sky! Then our name will be known and remembered by future generations.
  These words veiled pride. They thought themselves capable of building such a huge and admirable building on their own, without God’s help. How deluded were they! They never managed to finish their work.
  At first everything was going according to plan, because they worked eagerly and the tower became higher and higher. But then, all of a sudden, something strange happened; they couldn’t communicate or cooperate. Everyone started shouting and arguing… They spoke different languages! The construction could no longer be continued.
As it is written in the Old Testament, God saw the city and the tower which was being built. He saw deeper, the pride in the hearts of the constructors. For that reason, he confused their language and threw a spanner in the works. Those proud people never succeeded in finishing the construction of the tower. Disappointed, they left it semi-finished. The tower was known to future generations by the name Babel which means “confusion”.
  Noah’s descendants went separate ways. Ham’s descendants went to Africa, Japheth’s offspring to Europe and Shem’s to Asia. People gradually obtained distinct characteristics and color because of the climate differences in their habitats. In that way different races were formed.
  In the course of time people forgot that they came from the same family, they once spoke the same language and they worshipped the same God. The difference of their appearance caused them to get estranged. Even worse, they started hating each other and fighting wars.

The Woe of Pride

  The proud craftsmen in Senaar never finished their tower and ended up bitterly scattered and alienated. Nevertheless, they weren’t the first to be seized by pride. Pride is rooted in Satan. In the beginning Satan was an important and outstanding angel of God. His name was Lucifer which means “really bright”. However, he prided himself and thought he could take God’s place. So, the bright angel became a dark demon and ended up in hell.
  Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, believed Satan’s lie and thought that they could become gods. So, they ate the forbidden fruit and as a result they lost heaven and their life became miserable. This megalomania and pride have often been human traits ever since.
  Throughout history a lot of proud people appeared. They scorned their fellow human beings as inferiors. They became cruel and brought great disasters on people’s lives. Take Hitler for example. A single proud and cruel man, who ruled Germany, caused World War II. He thought he was powerful and wished to rule the whole world without respecting God and his will. The result was a failed plan, millions of dead people and destroyed civilizations. These are the woes of pride.
We often pride ourselves on our job, our appearance, our talents, our knowledge, our ancestors, or our achievements. We forget that everything good we have is owed to God. Some may think
  -Is it bad that I’m happy when I succeed in something or when I earn something?
  -Definitely not. But it’s one thing to feel happy and another to feel proud.
  Pride makes us consider ourselves overly great and we start pursuing things out of our league, without considering God’s will. Then we are possessed by megalomania, like the people who wanted to build the tower of Babel. The result is to suffer from the consequences of our failure and mistakes.
  Pride also makes us think that we are more important than others. The feeling of superiority urges us to behave disparagingly towards others, as if we are unique in the world.
  Pride hardens our heart. A proud person is unable to feel affinity for others, be tolerant to others’ mistakes, show sympathy for others’ misfortunes. Proud people are full of themselves, having no interest in others.
  A proud person becomes disagreeable in people’s eyes but also in God’s eyes. “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord”. (Prov 16:5). God looks away from a proud person and takes away His blessing. “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Is 66:2). A humble person attracts God’s eye and His grace.
  We need to demolish the tower of pride and build the ladder of humility in its place. This ladder leads to the heavens!
  First step: I don’t brag about my talents and belongings. Everything good I have got, isn’t mine but God’s. I cannot brag about what isn’t mine. So, I don’t flaunt my belongings or my achievements. Ι am not conceited but I live and behave with simplicity.
  Second step: I don’t underestimate anyone or talk dismissively. I accept people as they are. I behave graciously. God bestows ηis gifts on everybody. It is an illusion to see only my talents and think that am superior to others.
  Third step: I show everyone my love. When I love I can’t insult, I can’t be cruel. A humble person loves everybody and that love is the supreme virtue.
Here is the ladder of humility! The person who learns how to climb it, he gets closer to God.
  Let’s pray to God to give us not only commodities, talents and successes but to give the most important of all; humility and modesty.

Pride is dreadful
It drives us away from God
Humility is wonderful
It elevates our soul to God


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