Friday, February 11, 2011

Pride, a dangerous thing for the soul.

Many people think that pride is an essential part of who they are. They wear their pride like armour to protect themselves from outside interference. It can drive them to do things, sometimes dangerous things, just to prove their worth. I was once very prideful and still can be so I know what I am talking about. But lets define pride and then start by looking at the different aspects of it.

Here is what has...

1. a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
the state or feeling of being proud.
a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one's position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.
pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself: civic pride.
something that causes a person or persons to be proud: His art collection was the pride of the family.

So there is pride in oneself, there is pride in accomplishment, there is pride in ownership and none of these things are wrong in good measure but all of them can be taken to extremes if they are not mixed with a sense of humility and discretion.

Someone who is prideful will be described as brash, egotistical, arrogant, self righteous, big headed, cocky, conceited, vain and so on. Do you want to be considered any one of those? I know I sure don't. At one time I definitely was at least some of those and perhaps still am but I recognize how wrong a way that is to be.

The bible is very clear on how God views pride. Here's just a sampling....

Love the LORD, all his faithful people! The LORD preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full.

Rise up, Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve.

Haughty eyes and a proud heart— the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

So you see how the Bible views pride. In my opinion it is a balancing act and you have to find the right balance in order to be truly happy. Pride can make you carry a heavy load and struggle with it when you could use a cart to carry it or ask a friend for help. It can stop you from asking a question because you worry people will think you're foolish for asking it so you glide along in ignorance or get stuck in a situation which is much worse than the perceived dumb question posed. Pride can make you boastful about one of your children/siblings/friends while making the others feel worthless or lesser worthy of your attention. Your words are important, be thoughtful of what you are saying and your audience.

Pride comes before the fall, not after. Be wise to not be overly proud or overly humble. Anything in extreme is dangerous for your life and your ultimate enjoyment in it. Even in humilty you can become proud. There once was a man given a plaque for being the humblest man alive which he accepted after much prompting from his friends/family. When he got home, he hung on the wall in a prominent place so everyone would see it when they arrived at his front hall. The next day they took it away. Humility is what others see in you, the moment you start boasting of your humility then you are no longer humble but proud.

I'll end it with a quote of C.S. Lewis....

A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride.


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