Sunday, February 1, 2015

What’s the Matter with Pride and Arrogance and what to Do about them

The Bible often denounces these two. Here’s an example:

  • When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2 ) 
Why? Isn’t pride a good thing? Shouldn’t we take pride in doing a good job? Of course, but this isn’t the pride that the Bible teaches against – a pride which seeks to elevate self above others. Jesus told a parable in which a respected Pharisee looked down on a sinner who entered the temple:

  • “But the [detested] tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other [the Pharisee], went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Luke 18:13-14)
Pride is self-exaltation. It therefore rejects anything that will expose the true self, while its opposite, humility, allows the light to expose its sin. One is no more deserving than the other. Both are sinners, but one is ready to receive correction, while pride is not. This is why Proverbs say that “with humility comes wisdom.”

Why does pride produce such bad fruit? The Apostle James explained:

  • Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven [pride] but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.  But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:13-17)
While the wisdom that comes from heaven is teachable, pride is not. The proud have convinced themselves that they are superior and have it all. Humility is self-reflective; pride is self-absorbed. Humility is opens door to the wisdom from above; pride is confident that it has all the wisdom it needs and therefore has closed the door. Consequently, pride is unteachable and is characterized by “envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”

Pride is a powerful and often unseen addiction. It lifts us, but it always requires a greater fix of self-aggrandizement lest it thrust us to the ground. How do we rid ourselves of this horrible addiction? Prayer – crying out for the help of our Savior!

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