I am often surprised by the determination people have to block the goodness or goodwill of others. Most times, this determination seems fueled by pride and the mere desire to thwart a plan or idea that wasn’t theirs. Pride leads us to believe that we are the only ones standing in correct thought or opinion, and renders us unable to listen or see the bigger picture. This pride disconnects us from others, self sabotages, and steals from us the ability to celebrate others. We have come to be so individualized and differentiated from the other that we live in pods of isolation, solely affixed upon ourselves.
“When pride comes, so does shame, but wisdom brings humility.” Proverbs 11:2, CEB
“The empty-headed cause conflict out of pride; those who take advice are wise.” Proverbs 13:10, CEB
“Pride spouts in the mouth of a fool, but the lips of the wise protect them.” Proverbs 14:3, CEB
“Pride comes before disaster, and arrogance before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18, CEB
“Pride comes before a disaster, but humility comes before respect.” Proverbs 18:12, CEB
“Incredibly proud – mockers are their name! Their conduct involves excessive pride.” Proverbs 21:24, CEB
“Pride lays people low, but those of humble spirit gain honor.” Proverbs 29:23, CEB
Isn’t Proverbs the snark of scripture? There is no burn, as the youth around me like to say, like the burn of truth. It stings. Proverbs doesn’t bring snark, but wisdom. It cuts us right in the places it hurts the most; the places we deny exist. Not a one of us are immune to the perils of pride. We “take pride” and “have pride” in ourselves, our minds, our loved ones, even, as Romans says, in our sufferings. We boast of our abilities, our gifts, and our accomplishments. In order to sooth our insecurities, we pridefully put ourselves as more righteous than others; rarely seeking the shoes of humility in which to walk out our faith.
There’s a saying I’ve heard often that says ‘comparison is the death of contentment.’ Comparison is indeed a symptom of pride in our lives and especially in our hearts. Our brokenness leads us here. We want acceptance, validation, approval, and belonging. When we don’t receive it, our rejection-fueled pride screams out, lashes out, to ‘prove’ ourselves worthy. Wisdom tells us that this reactionary behavior is dangerous not just to ourselves but to those around us. In truth, our pridefulness rarely hurts just us but rather its effects are far more reaching than we could imagine.
“Not only do they seek to harm our subjects, but they even attempt to scheme against their own benefactors since they are unable to manage their pride.” Esther (Greek) Addition E:3, CEB
“But when he could no longer hold his pride in check, he made it his business to rob us of our leadership and our life.” Esther (Greek) Addition E:12, CEB
Pride blocks our ability to listen to others. We are so self-assured in our own ways, that we fail to listen to the voices of those around us. We are unable to see that sometimes ours is the best idea in the room, and sometimes its the worst. Each voice has purpose and value. Each perspective comes from a place of origin, with experiences all of its own.
My prayer this week is that in new life and through new eyes, we could begin to live in ways that embrace our need for the other. I pray that God’s purposes would be valued as greater than our own. And I pray that we could see one another for who we really are rather than enemies, or competition, or objects of comparison.