Why Pride Hurts

“When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.”
Proverbs 11:2

Whether we care to admit it or not, we all like to be noticed for things. We find the things in our lives we excel at, and somewhere along the way we decide we want to be the best. There are so many things in life, whether relevant or not, we choose to take pride in.

Pride is not necessarily a bad thing to have. We should take pride in ourselves and the person we have become. We should take pride in who we are for Christ. We should not tear ourselves down to the moment we have deprived ourself of every ounce of self-love. Hubris, however, is dangerous.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hubris as exaggerated pride or self-confidence. Simply, a foolish amount of pride.

Transparently speaking, I am not afraid to admit I struggle with pride. I am a perfectionist, meaning I warp my mind into having be the best at everything I take part in. So what makes wanting to be the best so bad? When I allow my pride to become greater than who I am I create an elated sense of self. Further, I can become frustrated when I feel I am being ignored. I become filled with hubris.

Pride has been heavy on my heart lately. So much so, for a little under a month now I have been continuously singing “Oh, Tonight” by Josh Abbott in my head. But not the entire song, just the part in the chorus that talks about setting aside pride. For the first couple weeks I tried to ignore these feelings. The funny thing is when God places something on our hearts, we can only ignore him for so long before He decides to smack us with it and say it is time to face the very thing we try to avoid. I even told God I wasn’t being prideful (LOL, that’s when you know things are bad).

During these past few weeks, little things would cross my path and remind me to stop being prideful. Naturally, I was frightened to face the things in front of me. I twisted the thoughts in my mind. I tried to warp the situation into something minor, but the longer I sat, the longer my pride plagued my very being.

What I came to realized was I had allowed hubris to control my life. While reading The Screwtape Letters it hit me – I had been really, really prideful. Lewis’ religious satire formulated into the apologetics of Christianity opened my eyes to how easily I allowed myself fall into the trap set by temptation. I was even victim to the “but I’m a humble person” argument. As Screwtape explains to Wormwood the vicious cycle of pride the Patient should endure in efforts to be drawn away from the Enemy (who is God for those of you who haven’t read it), I realized this was the very cycle I had allowed myself to fall into as well.

The cycle hurts. I was slowly eroding areas of my life without realizing it. I allowed others to affect my attitude on certain matters as opposed to standing firm in the things I believed in. In the process, I realized I had the opportunity to show a person tremendous amounts of love and I didn’t.

In the end I faced the possibility I hurt myself more than this other person. The guilt destroyed me (exactly the kind of consequence Screwtape would want).

Pride teaches us we have to be a certain person or do things a certain way. Pride turns us inward. It teaches us what others think of us truly defines who we are. The cycle will only lead us to self-contempt.

But love – love can truly change lives. Love is the moment we place others before ourselves the same way Christ did. And if there was anyone who did not care what others thought, it was Christ. These are the moments we reach out to someone against all odds to show them they are loved (these situations usually result in the most beautiful journeys as well). Even 1 Corinthians 13 says “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

Love is the opposite of pride. Pride focuses on self but love focuses on others. Pride will remind others of how they hurt you but love forgives and chooses not to remember. True love will never fail.

I made a choice that day to not show love. It was the wrong choice and I am forever sorry that I made it. This choice taught me not only do I still have the option to choose love from this point forward, but that it really is the best choice of all. This has allowed me to funnel an abundance of love into my life daily. Things are not always easy, and unfortunately there will be times we have slip-ups, but we have a choice to make daily about the person we choose to be.

Daily, I choose love.

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