The Celebrated Sin
God, help me with my pride. Help me see clearly the benefits for myself and others in being outward focused. Open my eyes to things outside of my own world.
Read: Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Pride may be one of the most pervasive attitudes in our culture. Not only is it pervasive but it is often celebrated. Not convinced? Consider a few popular expressions or slogans: “self-made man”, “independent”, “achieve your dreams”, “find yourself”, “be successful”. Whenever you hear these words above they are almost always used in a positive context. The Bible makes clear, however, that pride is not to be celebrated and puts us in opposition to God (James 4:6). What’s the common denominator in all the expressions above? It’s the focus on self. Lest we get carried away, there is nothing wrong about getting a better understanding that God made you and then leveraging that knowledge to be all God intended you to be. The destruction and fall mentioned above takes place when we fail to take proper account of who we are in relation to God and others. The reality is we need God and others and others need us. The Bible makes this clear in many places. Not too far back from this verse the book of Proverbs says, “plans fail for lack of advisers but with many advisers they succeed”, 15:12 (NIV). In the book of Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV), which follows Proverbs, it says “though one person may be overpowered two can defend themselves and that a cord of three strands is not easily broken.” When we operate as lone rangers in this world we are bound to hurt ourselves and others.
Given the emphasis on the individual in our society, it might be difficult to recognize our need for growth in this area. Perhaps pride’s most identifiable behaviors are arrogance and snobbery. Given that these manifestations of pride aren’t socially acceptable, we are quick to avoid these behaviors and thus most of us consider ourselves doing quite well with the sin of pride. I want to challenge you to take a deeper look at the issue. If we start at the root of pride, which is the focus on self, maybe we can begin to recognize other areas in our lives where pride is lurking. What decisions are you making that are not wrong, but are all about you? When viewed through this lens, I think many of the decisions we make could be guilty of the sin of pride. Saying yes to our culture’s ideas of prestige and success has led to the unfortunate sacrifice of many families, friends and faith. Consider your attitude toward navigating the circumstances of life. Do you welcome and seek out counsel? Next time you have an important decision to make I challenge you to ask someone what their thoughts are. This accomplishes two things. It recognizes that others have something to offer you by way of advice or insights, and it is a tangible expression of humility. If you cringe or scoff at this idea than this exercise is for you!
God, rid me of my pride. Help me to gain a proper perspective of my need for others and the need to consider others.