(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.
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?