Monday, May 27, 2013

Pride: The Two Types

Pride. It's the bane of our existence. No, I'm not talking about patriotic or paternal pride. I'm talking about the silent and deadly type. The kind that causes so much trouble.

"Trouble?" you may ask, "What trouble?" Let's think for a moment. What was the first sin? No, not the first sin that man committed, but the other one. The Bible says:
"How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' -Isaiah 14:12-14
I would argue that the first sin was committed by Satan. He thought he could be god better than God. What do we call that? Pride. Now, I would also argue that there are two main types of pride. Type one is the I'm better than you and you should know it pride. Type two is the woe is me and I'm so mistreated type. Both kinds have one main goal: to get attention. The first makes people admire us, the second makes them pity us. But either way, the end result is the same: attention.

Ok, so can I back this up with specific verses that say both are forms of pride? No. Only the first one and everyone knows verses for that one. And yet, what is the root of pride? Selfishness. To me even the woe is me people are more often than not behaving the way they are out of selfishness. They want people to look at them and stroke their battered egos.

Before we go any further, I want to clarify: I am by no means belittling anyone who has experienced loss and hardship. I understand that you have gone through something terrible. I just want you to know that I am speaking to the people who are playing the victim card to get sympathy or get their own way. Those people are often too stuck on what they perceive as being unfair and cannot move on with their lives. All too often I have heard people say, "Well, if this job had hired me, I wouldn't be in this predicament," or "If that college had let me in I would have a better job and not have to work so hard," etc.

Both type one and type two pride people tend to forget that "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5) As long as they are stuck in their pride, God probably isn't going to use them as much as He could. They're probably going to miss out on some pretty awesome stuff that God would have done with them. Instead, their going to experience "resistance". I don't know about you, but just the sound of that brings me chills.

Something that God has convicted me on recently is that I am a type two pride person. That's not to say that I don't occasionally experience the other type, but my primary problem is the second. I tend to get so wrapped up in me and protecting/promoting myself with "woe is me"'s that I forget to humble myself to God's direction. So I get stuck spinning my wheels and desiring comfort and without realizing it am refusing to open myself up to God's plan for me. I know He could force me into that plan, but I think He would rather wait for me to submit and be willing to do it. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if that is why I haven't really done anything with my life- I'm too proud and stubborn.

Finally, I would like to leave you with this verse:
"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
Do you think with "sober judgment"? Do you see yourself clearly (how God sees you) or are you letting pride get in the way? Are you too proud of either your accomplishments or the lack thereof for God to use you?

Think about it.


  1. Wow. Interesting food for thought. I never actually saw "the victim mentality" - something I myself have been guilty of many times - as a form of pride.

    I do however know a clear indication of an area of pride in my life: offense. When I am offended by something - and for some reason, parts of this post offended me - that offended area is usually one where I am harboring pride.

    I do have a question though (for the sake of discussion): When you realize that you are falling into pride, how does one ought to respond? Of course, the obvious answer is to 'humble ourselves,' but how? Interested to hear your thoughts out!

    1. I guess first of all I would ask,"Why are you proud?" More than likely you will realize it is because you feel a sense of entitlement to something. Have you ever read the story in Daniel 4 about Nebuchadnezzar? He felt that everything around him was amazing because he had made it. What was the solution? He "lifted his eyes up to Heaven." He finally had the sense to realize that all things belong to God and the only person deserving of any praise was God.

      Often my pride is hurt because I feel that my "rights" have been trampled on. But do we really have any "rights"? Doesn't Jesus tell us "Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.(John 15:20)"? I think Jesus was the least deserving of any to have his "rights" trampled. He, above anyone in history, had every reason to be proud (since He was God)! But He wasn't proud. And we are called to be like Him.

      But really, the best answer is spoken by Jesus himself in this passage: And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."(Mark 12:28-31)

      Basically, if you love God THAT much and if you love others THAT much, then there is no room for pride. There's no room for the "I"'s and "Me"'s because you are too busy loving others! So I guess my question to match your question is, "Are you loving God and others enough to crowd out that pride?" I'm not sure I am. God has a lot of work to do in this imperfect sinner! Waiting for your thoughts, Joanna. Hope this made sense.