My wife grabbed hold of one end of the rope, and I held the other. Facing each other, we began pulling on the taut cord. Why this two-person tug-of-war? We were helping some couples see what conflict in marriage can be like. But then—no longer tugging—one of us took a step toward the other. Soon both of us moved to the center of the now slackening rope until our hands met in unity.

That first step to the center required humility—something we don’t always do well. But, as the story of King Uzziah illustrates, pride has devastating consequences.

Uzziah started out well as king—taking steps toward God with a humble heart (2 Chronicles 26:4), and seeking His guidance (2 Chronicles 26:5). But then, amid all the blessings and victories God gave the king—wars won, impressive building campaigns completed, agricultural abundance, a large and well-armed army (2 Chronicles 26:6-15)—Uzziah’s humility left him. “When [the king] had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall” (2 Chronicles 26:16). He sinned against God and was disciplined by Him—living out his remaining years in isolation due to a debilitating skin condition (2 Chronicles 26:21).

Pride is so destructive—particularly in marriage and other close relationships. In our arrogance, we could easily tug and tug in power plays that hurt those we love. Or, in humility we could take a step to the center out of love and honor for the special person God has put in our life. As Paul wrote, “Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:3-4).

A humble heart is vital for all believers in Jesus. May we choose to move to the center—to come together in Jesus—when conflicts arise.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 8:22-56