Dose of Truth

The danger of pride

Picture of Tim Richards

Tim Richards

June 26, 2024

Until recently, I knew little about the Korean Conflict except that the U.S. entered the fight in 1950 to stop the spread of communism. I did not realize that while the Korean War lasted just over three years, it took the lives of millions of North and South Koreans and that U.N. forces also suffered 100,000 casualties.

Recently, I learned more by listening to novelist Jeff Shaara’s well-researched book, “The Frozen Hours.” The author captured my attention with details I had never known. If you have watched the classic TV show about the Korean Conflict, “M*A*S*H,” you know Korea can become extremely cold, but you may not realize temperatures during the war were sometimes -30 degrees Fahrenheit. While American and U.N. troops struggled with the low temperatures, the winter weather proved even more devastating for North Korea and her allies; thousands froze to death.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur oversaw the military operations, but I learned he managed those operations from Japan. When the famous general’s military commanders gave him accurate information about conditions on the ground, he refused to listen because he was overconfident his strategy was working. Rather than trusting his generals on the scene, he accepted information only from those who told the general what he wanted to hear. Had his generals in the field blindly obeyed his orders, the results would have been catastrophic, and even more lives would have been lost.

MacArthur also ignored commands from President Harry Truman, his commander-in-chief. Eventually, Truman was convinced MacArthur could set in motion events that could lead to a third world war. At that point, despite how unpopular he knew the general’s removal would be, the president felt he had no other choice, and on April 10, 1951, MacArthur was relieved of his command.

There are few more accomplished military leaders than Gen. Douglas MacArthur. He is one of only five five-star generals in American history. He was awarded the Medal of Honor and 17 other medals, yet most current historians believe Truman did the right thing when he fired MacArthur.

The distinguished general is a cautionary figure, demonstrating the danger of blind arrogance. His overconfidence led him to conclude he could not be wrong. The Bible cautions against this kind of foolish superiority when it says, “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18, NLT)

Probably, no one reading this column is as arrogant as Douglas MacArthur, but all of us would do well to realize the danger of pride. Believing we are always correct is a recipe for disaster that we can avoid by realizing only God is always right, and we are not him.

NOTE: Webb City’s MacArthur Drive is named to honor Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

Tim Richards

has been a pastor for 37 years, serving five churches, including his current church, The Refuge in St. Louis, which he founded. He and the congregation minister to those who are hurting and do their part to expand God’s kingdom. Tim and his wife Kelly have five children. “A Dose of Truth” which he has written for more than 25 years appears in 13 newspapers. His book, “Thriving in the Storm: Discovering God’s Peace and Perspective in Turbulent Times,” is available from Amazon. Feel free to contact him at Photography is another of his skills. Pastor Tim’s photos may be viewed at