No, that is not a quote from George Orwell’s 1984, I mean it because it’s a spiritual truth. Humility is strength, pride is weakness. It doesn’t matter what form our pride takes either, could be shy, withdrawn, and insecure, or arrogant and pompous.
Pride is not feeling good about oneself, being confident, or being “proud” of one’s accomplishments. None of the modern day definitions really apply very well, so I kind of describe “pride” as the opposite of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Where love is patient, pride is impatient. Pride is full of envy, boastful…proud, even! It dishonors others, it is self seeking, it is easily angered, it keeps a record of wrongs. It delights in evil, does not rejoice in truth, does not protect, NEVER trusts, never hopes, and does not persevere.
Pride is often an infection that sets in after shame has wounded you. It is usually NOT the result of being admired, praised, or loved, but rather the fruit of being pounded on by the world. It is like the scar tissue that tries to cover over an unhealed wound.
Absolutely no one who tells you how wonderful and perfect and vastly superior they are is trying to convince YOU of those things. They are trying to convince themselves.
We all encounter pride, we all deal with it to some degree. It is that empty, envious, insecure spot that nothing can fill because you are feeling deprived, left out, and unworthy. It is often tightly entwined with shame.
I have a theory that the first sin was actually when Cain killed Abel. He was full of pride, full of envy, easily angered, self seeking, and so he struck out. Genesis 4:7 only tells us, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
We need to learn how to rule over our pride. Pride tends to make you weak and reactionary. We need more strong people with level heads walking about in the world.
Back to my original point however, pride is weakness. For most of us it doesn’t end in literal murder, but it is kind of like just sitting there and punching your own self in the head all day long. It makes you easily prone to offense, it puts you on guard, it causes you to be fearful, and it leaves you vulnerable to attack. Someone who has humility cannot be offended, manipulated, played, or ruled by fear. The more humility you can cultivate the more impervious you become to attacks from other people and the less likely you are to react to some perceived (real or imagined) threat.
You stop taking things personally because you understand it isn’t all about you, all of the time.
I’ve done a fair amount of work with pride, so here’s the bad news, the only way I know of to deal with pride is to confront a great deal of pain that gave birth to it. It’s like having to reset a bone so it can heal properly or abrading a scar so it smooths out now. Regardless, not a pleasant experience because one has to feel all the things that made one defensive and walled off and unwind them so they can heal properly.
My pride was never boastful or loud, it lay there hidden, lurking in the reverse of 1 Corinthians 13 where we’ve gone and inverted the message to say, (pride) NEVER trusts, never hopes, and does not persevere.
The residual taint of trust issues I have leftover today are slight, but they are still rooted in bits of pride.
I am chuckling wryly here, I am just fine, but I have now spent an entire month basically watching a lot of people marinating in pride, which amounts to just standing there punching themselves in the head over and over again. Watching this mess is just crazy making! I have now gone quite mad and it was a short trip to begin with, but I think I have now arrived. I’m just wandering about mindlessly muttering, stop that! Just stop it!
As you probably already know, people are complicated and while the solution really is that simple, “just stop it,” almost no one in the history of forever has managed to “just stop it” because someone else said those words to them.
So this is my free gift, my feeble offering, my proclamation declaring, you don’t have to live that way. There is a better way, another way, once actually called “The Way.” Letting go of some pride is like lancing an infection or setting down a heavy load. It’s a giant sigh of relief. Four stars, highly recommend.