I attended a funeral last week. The preacher made a comment that there are three characteristics that will destroy us. One is pride and another is anger. I don’t remember the third one because I was so stuck on pride and wrestling with my own shortcomings. The preacher’s comments made me check myself.
What is pride?
The Oxford Dictionary defines it as a feeling of deep satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired. This is the obvious definition. This is pride with a capital P.
I liken this to the pride one feels when they receive a work promotion, a good grade on an exam, or when their favorite sports team wins a championship. This is also the type of pride that accompanies acceptance to a first-choice school, paying off your house, or finally purchasing the car that you saved and sacrificed so long for.
However, a secondary definition for pride is the consciousness of one’s own dignity and an inflated sense of self. This is the not-always-so-obvious definition.
Synonyms for this definition include ego and self-esteem. This version of pride is sneaky and inconspicuous. This is pride with a lowercase p.
What is this type of pride?
It’s keeping up with the Joneses.
It’s staying in an unhappy relationship solely because you’re afraid of what people will think if you leave.
This type of pride is feeling snubbed when you weren’t invited to the party.
It’s social climbing.
It’s being rude to waitstaff and insubordinates.
It’s not taking responsibility for your actions and, instead, shifting blame to someone else.
It’s a preoccupation with being right.
This pride is self-righteousness.
It’s buying the expensive item that is actually quite ugly, but you fork over the money anyway because it is a status symbol and you want to fit in.
It’s not admitting when you’re wrong and then apologizing.
This type of pride doesn’t ask for help. It envies other peoples’ wins. It uses gossip as a form of connection. It holds onto grudges for dear life.
This is the pride that will eat you alive.
This is also the pride that is hard to avoid. Shoot- I like having nice things. I like being right. I like the feeling of punishment that holding a grudge can offer. I like career status.
My humanity leaves so much room for this sin.
There’s a reason pride is one of the seven deadly sins. I’d even argue that pride is the worst because if you think about it, the rest of the sins- envy, greed, lust, anger, covetousness, and sloth- are all rooted in pride and ego.
How can we work on this? Through the opposite of pride, which is humility. It’s putting our faith in God and Him alone. Pride is a liar- it wants us to believe that everything depends on us. It wants to convince us that our goal is to experience human success, riches, and popularity. But these things will never fulfill us the way they think they will. The path to trusting God is with humility. Humility might cost us something, but it’s worth the price.