I have been thinking a lot about pride the last month. It’s not an easy topic to dwell on or to talk about and I have rewritten and pondered this topic more than any other.
We – you and I – are proud. That is as simple as it gets, and we need to call out our pride.
Pride says, “I can do it better”, or “This isn’t worth my time”, or “I will look ridiculous or be alone if I do or say________________”.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.” I would agree and go a bit further, none of us is as humble as we think we are or should be.
Proverbs 16:18 says “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Looking at this verse, I realize the Fall happened because of pride, and pride has stuck around ever since, on a massive scale and on an individual scale.
Pride casts blame on others and doesn’t own up to mistakes. Pride loves independence. Pride is rude, self-serving, impatient and mean. Pride resists teaching, drops things and people it deems unworthy, gives up easily, and criticizes regularly.
Do these characteristics sound familiar? Here’s the key: if anything is more opposite of love, it is pride.
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28
“As long as you are proud, you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.” (C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity).
While many of us (and even I will admit I do this too) argue with ourselves, others, and God that it is because of fear we don’t act or step out and do what we know we should, if we really look we will realize it’s pride disguised in a costume. Fear is easier to understand and swallow than pride is. But inaction is inaction – even if we feel deeply about an issue but do nothing and serve no one, nothing changes. Every excuse in the book leads back to pride.
Let’s be completely honest and humble and recognize that God does not need us nor needs to redeem us for any reason. Who are we that we feel we can ever argue with God or try to get Him to bow to us? Who are we?
It is a difficult thing to admit pride, and even more difficult to change our behaviour. But I do not wish to leave you in a state of despair and “woe is me! I have pride”. That’s not very practical.
I have found the best way to deal with any challenge, is to look to the One who provides the Truth and Love that we need. God is able to reveal the broken parts and begin the process of healing and redemption. His grace is sufficient.
Let’s start by doing that – seeking Him out, humbling ourselves and really asking, “God, where are you leading me? What are you calling me to do?” He will answer, and He will provide the strength to do what we cannot on our own.