Pride, is it good or bad? We are told to take pride in ourselves and in all we do. We are also taught that pride is the root of all evil. Which is it? If anyone ever earned the right to be proud, it would have been God on the seventh day when He rested and reflected on all He had just accomplished. God created the universe. He created the mountains, oceans, trees and the birds that nest in them. He created the sun, moon and stars. He created DNA. He created life. That is something to be proud of yet, at His birth, Jesus humbled Himself to be like us in all things except sin. What can we learn from His humility? Please read more.
For much of my life I was a prideful person. Ego and pride often got in my way. They still sometimes do. In school, I was proud of my scholastic abilities and my athletic skills. In my career, I took great pride in my professional accomplishments. I wanted to be seen by others as a man who gave back to his community, his profession, his faith and his family. The operative phrase here is: “I wanted to be seen.” This was pride.
Maybe I did all of those things above to mask over some of my hidden wounds and personal brokenness. Until God spoke to my heart in 2011, my pride kept me from admitting my wounds and brokenness. Since then, God has been using humility to make me more dependent on Him. In what ways is pride hurting you? Do you need to work on the virtue of humility?
Jesus, who as one with the Father and Spirit, created all things, humbled Himself to become fully human. He humbled Himself to be born in a dirty manger. Jesus depended on His parents to feed and nurture Him. Jesus pooped and peed in his diaper and like all babies, He relied on someone else to clean Him up. Jesus had to make it through the trials of puberty and acne. I am sure He often, as a young boy, scraped His knees and relied on His mother to bandage Him up and kiss His boo boos and make Him feel better. Jesus worked, sweated and cried, yet all the while He was GOD!
Jesus was tortured and killed by many who once were His friends. Many of His onetime followers turned on Him and eventually shouted out “crucify him, crucify him.” Let’s face it all of us, at times, turn on our Lord, and through our actions cry out “crucify him.” Despite knowing that we would be sinful people, Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross so that we could inherit eternal life. That is real humility!
Proverbs 16: 18-19 gives us this: “Pride goes before disaster, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be humble with the poor than to share plunder with the proud.”
Humility was at one time regarded as the essential Christian virtue. Today it seems as if humility is seen by many as a sign of weakness or as a character flaw. In the retreats that I put on around the country, I always talk about the masks that all people wear. Two of the three masks that I discuss are:
- Hiding our wounds, brokenness and flaws from others.
- Hiding our wounds, brokenness and flaws from ourselves.
Underlying our unwillingness to admit our faults, wounds, and struggles in life, either to ourselves or others, is pride. We prefer to see ourselves without our wounds, pains and flaws and we want to present ourselves to others in the same way.
G.K. Chesterton once said: “If I had only one sermon to preach it would be a sermon against pride.”
Proverbs 16:5 gives us this warning: “Every proud heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured that none will go unpunished.”
God has given each one of us special skills and talents. When we put these gifts to work for the glory of God we find a sense of purpose and we feel good about ourselves. Sadly though, we often forget where these gifts come from. We give sole credit to ourselves for our accomplishments rather than praising God and giving Him the credit for our achievements. Once again, we see insidious pride at work.
Jesus not only spoke of humility, but through His life and death, He became the role model for humility. To this day, many theologians believe that humility is one of the chief attributes of a good Christian life. If God was willing to humble Himself as a child on that first Christmas day, are you willing to humble yourself for Him? How is pride negatively impacting your life? We can use the remaining days of Advent to ponder these questions.
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, deliver me from my pride and help me to be humble like you, amen!
Click here for a printable copy of a prayer for humility.
As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.