Seven Deadly Sins: Part VI – Pride.

(Gee this is taking way longer than i intended?)

For those of you who have forgotten the idea of these…

After a brief description of the ‘Sin’ i hopefully begin with some personal experience of it i can relate and what, if anything, i have found as a way to overcome it; – then you comment with your own (Confession if you’re ‘game’, or ideas to overcome if you have never had the sin/confidence to tell anyone). Hopefully we all benefit from the contributions/thoughts.

Pride: ( i probably should have ended with this one. i reely Should have started with this as ‘Part 1’, but it’s too late now so i’m sticking with the alphabetical approach).

In almost every list pride (or hubris or vanity) is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and indeed the ultimate source from which the others arise. It is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to give compliments to others though they may be deserving of them, and excessive love of self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God). ( ref:Wikipedia)

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.
pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself.
a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem..

Synonyms: conceit, self-esteem, egotism, vanity, vainglory.

Antonym: humility.

You may know the saying ‘Pride goeth before a fall’? Indeed, the most famous fall of all due to Pride would likely be that of Lucifer, once one of God’s brightest of Angels, who because of Pride and desire to replace God was forever cast down from Heaven.

The saying, like many of today, comes from the Book of Proverbs:

18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. (Prov 16:18,19).

A haughty SPIRIT? Hmmmmm?

Pride, like all our personality flaws, can be a really ‘tricky’ thing.

None of us wants to think of ourselves as full of boasting self-pride and so affronting Christ and God. (mainly because we are too proud to want to think of ourselves that way!) 😉 and yet most see nothing wrong in being ‘proud’ of some good deed we do or people we know do (“i’m so proud of you!”).

First on the list of the six abominations God hates (Proverbs 6) is a ‘proud look’ – first! Prime place of importance!

WE are told incessantly in Scripture to be humble and have a humble appearance to please God.

So how is being proud in any way Christian?

Only when we do Him ‘proud’ – which itself is a bit suspicious because, again from Scripture, we are reminded that nothing good comes from our flesh, but from Him, and that therefore only He is ever able to be ‘proud’ – anything good that one of us does is solely because of Him and that we have let Him ‘in’ us.

Pride is an ‘earthly’, fleshy thing and we are to not entertain it within us and give all glory to Him (pride is a synonym for VAINglory) thus remaining humble by not ‘claiming’ any pride for ourselves or other people/family.

Self-esteem (a synonym for pride) is a likewise ‘tricky’ area as, like alcohol and many drugs, it can be very difficult, in having ‘some’, to know when to ‘stop’. A person with no, or very low, self-esteem (when comparing themselves to any other) is unlikely to achieve all that, as a Child of the Almighty, we are created for.

Having said that, the words of Paul to the Philippians (Ch 2) should be borne in mind:

3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory (pride); but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Note that it says to (hold in) esteem (each) other better than them(your)selves. Which is not to say that we cannot have SOME esteem (regard) for the good work we do – or for our ability to do something well, providing we do not do so to the loss of others, or consider ourselves in some way worth higher regard (esteem) than others.

So, onto my personal sin of Pride (Ok, ONE of them) 😉

The greatest sin of Pride (and the widest ranging one, of so many different ‘faces’) i can think of are the ones that put me ‘above’ God – that puts what is important ONLY to me above the things that are of Him. ( and sadly i don’t think any atheist has a good understanding of why this is so important to alll of us).

I, like all of us, have many personal examples of this at various times in my life – indeed for the first three decades – that was pretty much all i did. I ‘survived’ and i could well have gone on and had a ‘successful’ life and perhaps even have done some GOOD in the world. Probably more good than harm, which, most would suggest, is all we can ever hope for in our four score years or so we each average on Earth.

In the last two decades however i am becoming convinced that there is a higher ‘power’ than myself in my, and everyone’s life. Many people on this planet understand that power by the single word: God. Some know it as a different name but whatever you call it and whatever personality or power you give to it it is simply far greater than any single one of us can fully comprehend… and we ignore it at our permanent peril.

I have NO ‘proof’ of this – although i know and love some people who have a deeply personalised experience of it and am fully prepared to believe their experiences are totally genuine. To me it is simply a matter of Faith.

Some may see this as ‘poor’ thinking – unsupportable as a way of living an ‘intelligent’ and logical ‘provable’ life. – a kind of childish fantasy. I once felt that way myself but i see it differently today.

The thing that changed my world view (very gradually) was the understanding that developed, through long observations of Humanity, that by placing myself as the first and foremost ‘Authority’ in my life (and allowing for all others doing the same as me in theirs) constant conflict is the only possible outcome. Humanity on it’s ‘own’ will never achieve a consensus and work towards a common and just goal. The evidence ( even within Christianity) is irrefutable.

To me the ONLY Hope for mankind is to do exactly as Christ did (i would hope we could avoid the need for the physical crucifixion, while ensuring the internal ‘death’ on the Cross) and learn how to do ONLY the Will of the ‘Father’.

Sadly, as the two thousand year long history of schism, division and ‘sin’ of Christianity as a whole shows, even today, the majority of us don’t have any real clue how to do this.

Despite Christ, despite the written word of God (in numerous languages and religions) for instructions, despite the effort of millions through all churches throughout time….

WE still can’t just do as He did – die to ourself (personal ego) and put a single Higher Authority as our common Father… and just love one another as ourselves.

I don’t claim to yet be the personification of that myself… but i do see the need and i am a work in Progress (forgive the copyright infringement!) 🙂

My ‘way’, which i believe is also His, is to allow my Spirit to be grown into a real entity within me (via His aid) to make sufficient room within my hard logical, proof-demanding mind and heart and body for the Love of ‘God’ to change me into a being who can see the Unity of all mankind into a single ‘body’ and who can ensure my own ego always takes a back seat to His Authority/Will. (and wherever possible ‘dies’ so that something greater can live and take it’s place).

Sorry for taking so long – but it had to be said.

So now… what examples of pride are in you? and how do you deal with them?

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11 thoughts on “Seven Deadly Sins: Part VI – Pride.

  1. Love – one of my problems is I am very willing to lead and organize. Then when it all goes the way I hoped I tend to take the glory as well. I tend not to recognize the work of those that followed. I have done better after many years and now I am getting much more content w/following – or staying out of the way!! lol

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  2. Excellent thoughts, Love!

    I’ll get to my personal ‘pride issue’ in a bit, but first wanted to add Daniel 4 as a prime example of pride. Nick was just teaching on that text for a service we did yesterday, and it deserves a reading again even if the story is familiar (King Nebuchadnezzar’s pride and ‘fall’).

    The thing that got my attention in hearing it again was verse 34 where it says “I , Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me.” I had never noticed it before, but it wasn’t anything he actually did, besides ‘look up’. But,if you think of ‘oxen’ grazing, you don’t think of them doing anything but looking down or around them (very ‘self focused’). It would seem then to me that God must have ‘lifted his head’ to Himself because the ‘end of his time’ (7 years) had come. God knew when it was that the king was willing to acknowlege that the ‘discipline’ had been justified, and so humble himself to praise God for bringing him back to his senses (from the insanity that began long before he was made into a beast, I’d say).

    My pride struggle? Wanting affirmation/confirmation that I’m hearing and obeying Him. If I really am, He’ll let me know, and that’s all I SHOULD ever need.

    D-

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  3. So now… what examples of pride are in you? and how do you deal with them?

    There have been several occasions when pride kept me from acknowledging that I needed help.

    When I was young my favorite word was no. No! I don’t need anything from anyone. Pride became my island. Simon and Garffunkel’s “I am a rock” was one of my favorite songs, “a rock feels no pain and an island never cries”.

    I took me a long time to learn that there is less pain in asking for help, rather than just being too stubborn to ask for it.

    Early in my career I was not a good team player. It took a while to learn that working as part of a team was the best way to solve difficult problems, and a lot more fun.

    I still fight my tendency to want to show off, when more often than not all I am showing off is how little I actually know. I have learned to do more listening and less talking.

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  4. DANG YO! This is the longest post ever! 😆

    I’m heading to bed so I’ll read it tomorrow…. but Pride. yee-ouch. I’ve got it. A lot of it. Unfortunately. *sigh*

    love you. Hey I miss your face ya know!

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  5. Hi friend. Examples of pride? Sadly, I’ve got a lot; I don’t know where to begin.

    Oh, wait. Okay. Here’s one. Back when I was young — elementary and highschool — I was very competitive mainly because I had to do good (I was aiming for scholarship to help me through university. Back then, doing good in school was my only hope of getting to university). But you know, it felt so good being on “top” (of the class, etc). It felt so good when people pat you at the back and say you’ve done a good job. I think I got addicted to it — the recognition. It took me a long time to sit down and relax. I had to keep telling myself: “Hey Sherma. Stop. You CAN stop now. There’s no need to prove anything anymore.”

    I knew I’ve matured when I started wishing others — not me — to shine. I knew I’ve matured when I learned that it wasn’t about me anymore. That it was about about HIM all along.

    Sometimes, the self still gets in the way. But I am learning and trying…

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  6. Welcome Papa 🙂 I think leadership can be a great source of personal pride and confusion (thinking it is more what ‘we’ did than what He does) very ‘tempting stuff’ – taking credit for things and being praised as well. HOPEFULLY by the time most people have become true leaders like you, they have learned this and can step back and remain humble while showing others ‘the way’ forward. Sadly i see way to many times that this is not the case and pride wins out ending up in very unwanted situations. Well Done!

    Hey D! Liked your example of Old Neb – and yes the struggle for him would have begun at birth being raised into the royal household as future King. All our ego problems have their root way back in childhood, before we learn that we are NOT the most important beings and everyone else exists to serve only us.

    As for your personal pride.. it is what YOU see it, but i see yours as stated as being more of a questioning nature – needing reassurance, self doubt is a form of our pride ego but usually that we have too little self worth or faith in what we are. He wants us all to shine our light so that we glorify Him – if we fear we are not doing something right ( when we might well be) and seek some confirmation or slow down and stop if it is not right before our eyes that might come more from the adversary than From Him.

    Don’t let Satan prevent you from shining as brightly as you might. Be in Spirit, have Faith and watch for that which is not of Him around or in you.

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  7. Ed – great stuff there!

    ‘I(t) took me a long time to learn that there is less pain in asking for help, rather than just being too stubborn to ask for it. ”

    How true is that? and something i greatly need to learn. – but who can you REALLY trust to help you out without leading you to further trouble?

    We are not machines ( although sometimes we act very much like one – never learning well from our mistakes) but if two machines each have an ‘efficiency’ of 90% ( making just 10%) error do the two together produce better or worse or the same efficiency? Are they added/averaged or multiplied? If our eros are multiplied when together then in the above case the efficiency reduces to 81% – less than either alone.

    Like i said – we are not machines and humans can show synergy, where the sum is greater than the two individual component parts alone can contribute… but this is not always the case – especially when neither of the two understands about the danger of our own ego.

    What i am getting at in part here is that we could be the beneficiary of the greatest ‘Help’ when the One we ask for help is perfect and much beyond what we are capable of in ourselves.

    Like Bill Gates, for example! 😉

    Bwan! 🙂 Love you – hurry back! ♥

    BT Hi Friend, 🙂

    Excellant example! Cometitive Pride may have been your motivation for doing well and exceeding. was it a bad thing though? did it not provide good things for you – were you not in control over it and not it over you? did you not care who you hurt so long as you ‘won’?

    Now you have stopped yourself from doing that – do you achieve as much still? more? or less than when that was ‘you’? Could you both do ‘more’ and not do any harm or is that not humanly possible? WOuld He help you? want you to do ‘better’, if you could?

    Just some thoughts i need to ask myself and you provided the impetus! 🙂

    love.

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  8. Love,
    Pride is something I battle every day. Not always the same things tho. But I am asking HIM to break my heart over the things that are prideful in me, and for HIM to be up in my rac about it. Sometimes I am just 😯 when I see it.

    I hardest thing for me to deal with is that pride is opposed by God, and I don’t want to be on that side of HIM. Am I making any sense?

    I do miss your smiling face too! You are in such great demand! 😉
    Thanks for picking up this study that you started….it has been very stirring for me, and that is always welcomed! ♥

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  9. Hi Darla, you always make a lot of sense 🙂

    While we are told God Abhors a proud look, to me it helps fight it, to remember that my pride is opposite to my acceptance of God and that since this is not what i truly want i can then remove this from me (by turning back away from pride towards Him and His way, in this case humbling that pride within and the understanding the reasons it rose up).

    Do you see your pride residing within your heart? or your head? or perhaps your past? or somewhere other?

    i think your heart is in the ‘right’ place… but what would i truly know? 🙂

    love always,

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  10. 😆 you know!

    I think my struggle with pride is in my thinking mostly, usually when I see it or hear it (ouch), I am aware that something needs to change. I love that you challenge me. And you do challenge me! have a great night…love ya Love

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  11. Thanks for your comments (#6) to mine above (#2).

    I think once we come to a place of ‘confidence’ in who God created us to be and the ‘gifts’ He has given us to give back to Him, ‘pride’ in ‘who we are’ or ‘what we do’ becomes less of an issue (as well as playing the ‘comparison game’).

    I never had the ‘self-doubt’ (and subsequent need for affirmation/confirmation) until my giftings and calling were rejected as ‘not good enough’, or ‘not fitting in’ (with others’) where God had placed me.

    Since God sometimes allows that to happen, I believe He does want us to “be honest in our estimate of ourselves” (Rom. 12:3) by taking that ‘rejection’ to heart to see if there’s validity to it. Even if not though, I think the best ‘course of action’ is just to persist in what’s remains and be faithful in that.

    The dilemma comes though, if the confirmation/affirmation continues to come from every other source re: those original areas of calling/gifting. Would it then be safe to assume as you said above that ‘Satan is the one preventing the light from shining as brightly as it ought’?

    Even so, I think God is the only One who can remove the obstacles, and we are to continue being faithful to use what He has given us for His glory (though prayer for ‘open doors ‘ is a worthy pursuit as well =).

    The whole process pretty effectively purifies motives for sure!– both toward our ‘gifts’ and the people who have the ‘power’ to help or hinder their being given.

    D-

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