It is very easy to think, I’m wiser, I’m prettier, I’m more talented, I’m smarter, I’m more popular, I’m better than you at this or that or something else. Of the seven deadly sins, pride is considered the most alluring and the most destructive.
Bad pride shows up as conceit, self-importance, and rudeness. It is me-oriented, I-focused, self-congratulating and self-obsessing. You don’t like people like that and you don’t want to be that kind of person for three reasons:
Reason one: bad pride skews your reality. It deceives the mind with illusions of supremacy and desires for dominance. When you elevate yourself you diminish others and get a feel-good rush of self-importance that is artificial and potentially addictive.
Second, bad pride sabotages your relationships. People filled with pride mistreat others, are rude and condescending. They look down on other people believing they themselves deserve all the good things they have and the little people, the less intelligent, the less handsome, those lower in social standing, are unworthy of what they have, even contemptible.
Someone said, “Pride is the only disease that makes everyone sick except the one who has it.”
Reason three you do not what to be filled with bad pride is that it separates you from your Maker. Many call pride the original sin because it was used to tempt Adam and Eve with the alluring words, “You will be like God.” When they fell to the temptation, what happened to them? They were separated from God. You, like Adam and Eve, were made in the image of God but pride makes you think you are God, and you are not.
It was God who gave you your brain, talents, looks, abilities and whatever goodness you have. He didn’t give them to you so you could look down on those not as wonderful as you but so you could serve them.
The best defense against bad pride is intentional humility, but how is that done?
Begin is with gratefulness. You are intentionally humble when you do not misinterpret your achievements and success your gifts and talents, as evidence of your greatness but rather as proof of your blessings. Be thankful for what you have and who you are, not prideful.
Thank others for what they do for you. Even the humblest act of service requires a thank you and declares that you recognize the value of each individual.
Another way to be intentionally humble is to allow others to be right, to win or to lead. You must not win every argument, prove every point, acquire every toy, or command every situation.
In general, begin to think less about yourself and more about other people. Get interested in the hopes and dreams of other people. Listen more, talk less.
Pastor Rick Warren said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
It will not be easy. Benjamin Franklin warned about pride: “There is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive. Even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.”
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