Tuesday, 3 March 2015

A Dangerous Disease (And Its Remedy)

My dear friends, I feel it my duty to warn you of a danger that has infiltrated our churches, our families, and our relationships, causing friendships and fellowships to be ripped apart and replaced with jealousy, strife, and sorrow. It starts in the heart and then spreads to the mind and to the actions. If left untreated, it can only lead to destruction.

This disease is pride.

What Pride Isn't (And What It Is) 
When I was growing up, I knew about pride, but I had a misunderstanding of its true nature. I thought that pride was simply "thinking yourself as better than others". Pride was thinking, "I can ride my bike much better than so-and-so!" "My toys are so much cooler than so-and-so's!" "My clothes are nicer than..." and so on.

But over the past few years, I've learned about both more deeply and more painfully than I ever would've desired. Pride is so much more than "thinking yourself as better than others", because what does thinking about yourself as better really entail?

Pride includes...

-- Not sharing your struggles with others because you want to look good to them
-- Insisting on always being right (even when you are not)
-- Not allowing others to take part or lead (because you want to do it all yourself)
-- Not listening, taking offense at, or becoming defensive in response to reproof or instruction
-- Feeling that you deserve something from God or that He is withholding something from you

Can you think of a few more examples that might not usually be attributed to pride? Pride is not so much as thinking of yourself as better than others, but simply thinking of yourself too much.

Pride has a remedy.

The remedy is humility.

What Humility is NOT (and What it is)
When I was growing up, I learned about humility too, but I had a misunderstanding of all it entailed. I thought that humility was simply "thinking about others more." - being focused on other people instead of yourself. Humility was thinking, "So-and-so is really good at _____." etc.

But humility is so much more than simply thinking about others more. Because often times, thinking of others can simply lead to comparison. "So-and-so is much better at me than _____." Comparison often leads to discontentment - "I wish  could ____ like _____." "Why didn't God give me _____ like ____?"

Another (false) definition of humility flip-flops "thinking yourself as better than others" to "thinking of others as better than yourself". This is wrong because this, too, is self-centered. The sentence, "____ is better at ____ than me." is still all about me.

I've come to believe that humility is seeing ourselves the way God sees us. It's seeing ourselves as broken, sinful, desperate, and completely lost on our own. But it's also seeing ourselves as something of value because we are created in the image of God. He loves us, He cares for us, and He gave His Son to take our place so that we would be able to have a relationship with Him.

Broadening Our Definitions
Someone who, for example, feels that God is withholding something from them might say, "I'm not prideful because I'm not thinking of others more than myself." But they are being prideful, because that discontent stems from pride. Someone who thinks, "That person is better at ____ than me. I wish I was like them." might think they are being humble - after all, they are complimenting another person! But in truth they are not being humble at all. 

Maybe it's just me, but does it seem like to you that our definitions of pride and humility need to be broadened? We have narrowed the definitions of pride and humility so that we think we are free from the former but possess the latter... but instead we have deceived ourselves. We have allowed pride to sneak into our lives, beginning in our hearts, spreading to our minds, and then influencing our actions.

The Bible, particularly Proverbs, warns us about pride. Probably the most well-known verse is Proverbs 16:18 - "Pride goes before destruction, [a]nd a haughty spirit before a fall." In James 4:6, it says that "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

Let us strive to resist pride, with God's help, and pray for His grace to give us true humility, my friends.

"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith..." Romans 12:3

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//Sorry about not posting this last week; it slipped my mind.//


  1. That was a really insightful read :) i agree that pride isn't just thinking we're better, but much deeper than that. I have to admit, I was guilty of pride but your post has helped me to put things in perspective!

  2. Yesssssssss. Thank you for posting this; it's always a good reminder/lesson.
    Love you! <3


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