16 February 2008

Recognizing Personal Pride

2nd in a series, "Thoughts On Pride" was posted on 2/10

Remember the "compare and contrast" exercises of grade school? like name the similarities and differences between a mountain lion and a billy goat. Great thinking exercises for a very young mind! As adults, we continue to do this. There is certainly benefit to this exercise. A personal example: I like to talk with other homeschool moms and find out how they do school. I can learn from others and perhaps even try implementing new and different activities or approaches for my children.

We seem to be creatures of comparison. We are instructed by Paul to make note of the examples of the apostles behavior and to imitate it (1Ths.3:7). That would involve an element of comparing. So comparison in and of itself is not bad. (Although one exception would be in faultily choosing whom we compare ourselves to and deluding ourselves into a prideful state of superiority. For instance my 5 year old son could compare himself to only 2 year olds and decide that he is, in fact, a giant. 2 Cor. 10:12 warns "
For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.")

We have to be careful with comparison. We possess just the natures that would be quick to employ an edge of competitiveness in our comparison. And this is oftentimes an indicator of pride. Pride is forever in competition with everyone else's pride.

Now I'm not saying that all competition is bad. Hockey teams compete for the Stanley Cup, there are chili cook-offs, thumb wrestling, photography, spelling contests, every kind of sport, etc. In these cases, it is the sore losing and the sour winning in which pride becomes evident.

When there is a secret complimenting of self in comparison with someone else whom we have sized up, so to speak, or a secret resentment of another for their gain or achievement - - THAT is pride. How aware are we of such thoughts? How recognizable are they? Pride always rears it's ugly head in the mind, indicates a problem with the heart, and, prior to making itself evident through the use of the untamed tongue, is evident in the haughtiness of the eyes (Prov.21:4).

Another indicator of pride would be the idea of "how dare you slight me" or "how dare you not give me my just dues, do you have any idea who I am or what my motives were?" These are all indicators of pride.

We all possess the very nature that makes us susceptible to the addictive and downward spiraling grip of pride. It is almost always a tricky and subtle condition that camouflages itself as a fleeting emotion so we perhaps won't even recognize it is there. And then it leads to jealousy, or greed, idolatry, deceptiveness, selfishness, and every other kind of sin. Is our drive to succeed or to improve a healthy one, or is it prideful? - - a deeper question to ask oneself than it appears on the surface.

My prayer, in this very unpopular topic of pride, is for God to reveal and to help me recognize every smidget of pride within me. I believe it to be the most prolific problem in all humanity, and the most un-Godlike characteristic. Even for a person like me whose personality would not seem to be bent towards pride, it is an issue, as I believe pride is at the root of all other sin (see first posting on this topic).

. . . Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble 1Pet.5:5



Anonymous said...

Thank you for the series, Kerri. Pride is one big thing that every Christian struggles with, and I believe it is the worst of all our fleshly desires.

I'm guilty as charged on numerous occasions.

I also believe that there are two main kinds of pride:

1. Pride towards fellow men
2. Pride towards God

The first affects our relationship with fellow men and stems from us thinking ourselves better than the other.

The second prevents us from fully trusting in God and all His greatness and in His provision for us.


Kerri said...

So true! Thanks for your comment Sicarii.

God bless you.


Laura said...

Kerri -

One thing I've heard numerous Christians state is 'Oh, I can't struggle with pride because I have such low self-esteem.' This assumes that low self-esteem is somehow the very opposite of pride. I don't see it this way at all ... Self-esteem stems from a preoccupation with 'self' which is really just a mutated form of pride.


Kerri said...

Hi Laura,
great insight! I've never thought of low self-esteem in that way . . . but I believe you hit the hammer on the head.
love ya,

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