Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pride

This morning in the Campus Chapel, we were treated to a great sermon on pride. (Hopefully if the pastor reads this, she is able to prevent this from becoming a source of just that.) Pride is a vice I avoid relatively well in its most obvious forms, but often times the less evident forms are the most dangerous. Without even noticing, I look down on others because of the way they look, act, or talk. I may not say it out loud, or at least to their face, but the slight bump in my view of myself that surfaces when I see someone I can rank below me on some sort of arbitrary and rigged scale is indication enough that I have a problem.

The unfortunate reality of pride is that often times attempting to remove it from our lives produces a bit of a feedback loop. When I look for situations where I feel pride creeping in, I begin to commend myself on my astute observation and introspection. Surely by watching my own behavior I am doing a better job at preventing the pride in my life than that person over there... Oh wait. Crap. Back to square one. Someone next to you leans over and says, "Can you believe that guy? I'd never go out in public wearing something like that." I know your reaction, because it would be mine too (unless I was the person making the comment, which happens all too often). How dare he talk that way about someone else. What a prideful jerk! I would never talk that way behind someone else's back. Oops.

How many times have you been in that situation? Probably more than you would like to admit. I know I would be completely ashamed if someone kept track of my slipups in this area.

Unfortunately I am at a loss for an easy way to combat pride during my everyday routine. There are some things I think can help though.
  • Instead of just noticing when I am being prideful, I can try to force myself to take a moment to empathize with the victim of my pride.
  • Honestly consider what it is about me that makes me feel better than someone else. Almost always the answer is something that is or was completely out of my control, and I just got lucky or blessed. I have decent clothes because my parents have jobs. In no way does that make me better than someone whose parents are out of work. Some of our circumstances are self-inflicted or self-achieved, but most of us would could be in a very different situation if we had been dealt different cards.
  • Most of all, asking for constant forgiveness. We truly are all made in the image of God, and pride is insulting not only to the person I put down, but to God himself.
I will admit that I have not taken a ton of time pondering this topic, so if you have any insights or comments, please drop me a note. I would love to discuss this further.

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