“When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with the humble is wisdom.“ – Prov. 11:2
Ever notice that in the dubious list of Seven Deadly Sins, Pride is always listed first. Of course it is. Pride would be proud of that.
Derived in a roundabout way from Prov. 6:16-19, the sins are: pride, envy, wrath, gluttony, lust, sloth, and greed.
The Canterbury Tales says pride is the root of all the others, the general root of all harms, and the trunk from which other sins branch.
I would say that Pride is the gateway sin leading eventually to all the others. No sin stands alone, rather – they are all intertwined. Pride, though, would be the mother of them all.
Pride is “an inordinate self-esteem.” Synonyms like vanity, conceit, arrogance, cockiness, know-it-all, and puffed up come to mind.
I have always struggled with pride and the selfish tendency to make it “all about me.” My wife has helped me greatly with this inclination over the years. When we first met, I wasn’t even aware I was doing this until she pointed out. I had the terrible habit of steering every conversation back to myself or only talking about my interests. Is it not annoying to be around someone who cannot start a conversation without using “I”? Well, sorry – that was me. And I still fight that urge.
At its root, it is self-worship. It is also insensitive to others around me; it signals that they are not as important as me or my life.
Reflecting upon the cure, I am indebted to God’s Grace on my pride.
First, God has given me the perfect help meet: my wife. God has provided a partner for me that is not afraid to point out flaws in order to help me objectively look at myself. This has both been helpful and… painful.
My wife’s honesty to make me really look in the mirror and see where the logs lie has been a great blessing in my life.
Pride leads to loneliness. As self-worship, Pride is filling our hearts with ourselves. If we fill our hearts with ourselves, then there is no room for anyone or anything else and thereby, we become more and more alone.
This could be anyone’s future who does not confront Pride before it is too late: relationships will atrophy.
Secondly, God’s grace on my pride has been to lead me to Scripture. Passages such as Gal. 6:3-4 or Prov. 11:2, 21:4 have served me well. God’s word is truly that which can cut to the heart. It is the scalpel God uses to remove the cancer.
I am forever indebted and wedded to God’s wondrous Scripture.
Lastly, the love of God is primary for me in this issue of my sinful nature. Without the love of God, I would not be able to even see this fatal flaw, let alone extract it from my life. God’s continual forgiveness, long-suffering, and patience with this chief sinner has been something that has tremendously humbled me.
God’s love is also the gold standard for me to emulate in my ministry and personal life. It is my duty and great honor to represent my King. How could I properly do that without exhibiting His same manner of love?
I want to end with balancing the Seven Deadly Sins with a second, more righteous list: the Seven Cardinal Virtues; wisdom, justice, temperance, courage, faith, hope, and love.
I refuse to be an instrument for the Devil and to allow him to use my unresolved pride against myself, my family, or my ministry.