Thursday, August 27, 2009

On Pride

Found at OCICBW:

"Humility is the opposite of pride and I think we'll get a better grasp of what humility is by thinking about its opposite. Pride is a hub sin a sin that spawns a host of other sins: jealousy, envy, slander, a critical spirit, ingratitude to name several. Pride is the impulse and desire to be first, to be adored, admired, and ultimately worshiped. It is grounded in a deep idolatrous love for the self that not only supersedes love for God but produces a desire to be God. When a proud person is not given the honor, admiration, adoration that he believe is due, his response is rage and division. Satan understood that so long as he was in fellowship with God he could never be God, so he rebelled, he divided. Adam and Eve wanted to be gods themselves so they rebelled and divided. That's the pattern. If you're a proud person you need the space to be your own little god. That's why you're always leaving things and people. Other people make it hard for little gods to fully live into their little god-selves.

Here are 5 things that pride does.

1. Pride takes offense (Cain): Because the primary focus of a proud person is on himself and whether or not he's being given the deference, respect, gratitude and admiration he deserves, it's really easy to offend a proud person. If you're proud, you turn all of your conversations into reasons to talk about yourself, your feelings, your deeds, your opinions, and your looking for the same kind of focus in others. What does he or she think of me? And so when someone forgets to say thank you. Or someone else's accomplishments are recognized, if your work is unnoticed, your great sacrifices and sufferings not sympathized with, your name not mentioned--you get angry, offended. You take it personally. Because you are always thinking about you, you think everyone else is always thinking about you and so what people say and do is always in some way aimed at you.

2. Pride is envious (Saul). The proud person is sad/angry when others are recognized, promoted, admired, congratulated or praised. If you're proud, when people speak well of another person's work or performance, or character, you might play along, but in your heart your thinking of all the ways that the person being praised is inadequate, not quite as good as everyone thinks. You're thinking about ways that you are better and how blind and stupid everyone is for not noticing. You're also probably thinking about way's to make the praised person's failures more widely known—because its just not fair that he gets so much undeserved attention.

3. Proud people hate to be criticized even constructively but love playing the critic (pharisees). Now, it is true that nobody loves criticism. I don't like it one bit. But if you're proud you simply cannot handle it. You're not just defensive, you are unable to process the criticism as anything but an attack. When you're criticized, you immediately generate a thousand reasons why the critic is wrong, doesn't understand, isn't looking at the facts. Sometimes critics are wrong, especially if the critic is another proud person, but because you're proud, you can't assess honestly whether the critic is ever right.

But you're really good at spotting imperfections in other people, you've honed that skill. You have a critique in your head for every member of your family, your coworkers, friends, and you can call up that list at a moment's notice. The humble person, by contrast, can generally take criticism well and is able to discern good constructive criticism from false and destructive criticism primarily because the humble person is already aware of his own faults and is very honest with himself about them. When the humble person senses the need to confront someone in a critical way about that person's behavior, he'll always check himself first. Am I being fare, am I criticizing this person legitimately?

4. Proud people complain when things are not as they would have it. Since they are the center of their own universes, when things are not as they would have it things are not right. If you're proud you're always thinking about why you don't like your present circumstances and usually trying to figure out who to blame for it. Humble people are generally surprised at and thankful for what they have.

5. Proud people are naturally prone to tear down leaders. If you're proud, the decisions of your leaders, bosses, parents, anyone over you in any way are always flawed, their assessments always wrong, their motives always sinful. Everything would work a lot better if you were in charge and so your bosses, leaders, parents, teachers, whoever, are always less capable of doing their jobs than you. Nothing angers you more than a leader who will not listen to your wise counsel. Humble people are certainly aware of flaws in leaders and willing to call them on it but the idea of being under the authority of others is not a problem. He can appreciate good leadership because it is not a threat to him.

I believe that most of the conflicts right now in this church have their root in pride."

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