There is a sin all of us suffer from…one we will readily confess too. Seems like we feel secure in the numbers. We see everyone nod agreement when we claim to “struggle with” this sin. It’s become our “go to” sin when it’s our turn to admit we’re not perfect. When the discussion turns to our weaknesses…we race to be the first to claim it, I’m talking about “pride.” I put it in quotes because it’s typically how it gets used…not much real thought, the catchall for everything. The problem is though, pride is a problem…a serious one…it sideswipes our submission, alters our abiding, and overthrows our obedience. Yet we still seem to be quick to claim it…’cause it is still “safe.”
What if we pulled the covers back a little and dug deeper on this “pride”…and called it for what it really is…
(gentle reader…as we switch pronoun focus…this is for each of us to read as we are the person talking)
Self-centeredness: I am who the world revolves around
Self-importance: Everyone and everything else is lesser than me
Self-indulgence: I want what I want…and I’ll take it now (no matter who gets hurt in the process – since they aren’t as important as I am)
Self-aggrandizement: Everyone look and bow before my greatness
Self-pity: Nobody has it as bad as me, everyone look at me and how horrible my life is (reverse pride)
I could keep going on…but hopefully you get the picture. Pride, unmasked, is not a pretty thing.
Now, I can almost hear some of you as I type (which would be kind of awesome to actually do…a bit scary as well).
I’m not like that. I’d don’t think I’m better, worse, more important…
I’m not near as bad as _________________.
Let me throw a few things out and see if they sound familiar…
Complaining that someone whom you are in a relationship (family member, significant other, work, friend…) is not doing things the way you want. Maybe you state it with a “should” statement…they should know, they should have done ____. Should statements are almost always (I only say almost to allow for the 0.5% that may not fit this) about the person making the statement – and their self-importance/centeredness. “I want it my way…and everyone must pay enough attention to me to know what I want, even if I don’t declare it.”
Making verbal or mental demands on someone…”If you cared for me you would ____.” The world owes you and you take offense when it doesn’t make payment.
There is some actual need in your life and you avoid paying the cost so you can satisfy a whim or desire instead. If you’re fantastic at the pride thing – there may be an expectation for someone else to provide for whatever you need, that’s their “job”, while you take care of your personal wants.
Comparing yourself with others to make sure you’re “better” (or “worse” in the case of reverse pride) than they are…and you do things to make sure others notice.
We’re all guilty of the above, in some degree. All of them have a “me first” vibe to them. That is what pride is about…me first. Sometimes it’s me first and only me…there is no one else. We have unrealistic expectations, which leads to frequent disappointment…which reinforces how the world just doesn’t do you justice and how unfair it is…cementing that me first focus.
I’ve said all this to help myself…and hopefully a few others…realize the ugliness of pride. The harm prides does to everyone…sometimes physically, but always emotionally, and spiritually. There are a few that have already handwaved this post away…they may not even be reading anymore…more proof of the selfishness they live by. Others may be in denial (I know I have been – this email concept has been in the pool for about a month) but if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll recognize how quick and easy we fall into the “what about me mode.”
As a follower of Christ it is NEVER supposed to be about “me first”…if we’re making demands, if we have unrealistic expectations, if we’re seeking offense, if we’re expecting “royal” treatment…we’ve lost focus on who we are supposed to be as His children.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4 ESV)
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3 ESV)
And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:30 ESV)