What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Flip Side of Pride


I've been thinking a bit about pride lately, and the alternative.  The truth is, there have been plenty of envious people in my life and and plenty of enviable people.  We all have, no?  So I can pretty clearly see how dangerous it is to be in BOTH of those courts.

I think it is pretty much understood that pride isn't such a great thing.  I mean really, who likes a cocky person?!  Prideful people are self-absorbed and unlovely and just plain irritating.  Even the world looks at cocky people with disgust, and they claim to not play by our rules.

So in the game "What Not to Do",  being Prideful rates A+.   So we should be the alternative right? 

No sirree.  I daresay the flip side of pride is just as damaging. 

Have you ever known a person with low self-esteem?  Ever know a person who would mope in the corner of the room and throw pity parties because no one was talking to them?  Ever been approached in private because so-and-so was hurt that you didn't say hi, so-could you just go and make amends?    Ever had a friend who made you feel guilty because you were accomplishing good things and they weren't?  Or worse- were you that person?

 The cocky person says " Hey LOOK AT ME!  PAY ATTENTION TO HOW COOL I AM!" but the person with the low self-esteem says "Woe is me.  Make me feel better.  Bring yourself down to build me up.  Change what you do to suit me."  

Both of these attitudes, though completely antagonistic, are saying "ME, ME, ME, ME!

I have never known a Christian to admit to being prideful.  Maybe they might recognize it privately and pray about it-but no one ever wants to publicly admit it.  On the other hand, I have known MANY a Christian who states matter-of-factly, "I have a really low self-esteem" as if it somehow is a good excuse for their bad, selfish behavior.  Low self-esteem still seems to be on our "It's okay" list.

Even when your character tendencies are less extreme, people still have moments (on either end of things) where we just wind up being egotistical.  Sometimes we swing from one to the other, one minute cocky the other minute self-pitying, several times a day.  So I am not just talking to those low-self-esteemers (like myself, at times) or the prideful (like myself, at times) but for those middle-of-the-roaders (like myself, at times).

So what then are we to do in this conundrum?  What kind of people are we to be?  Why, the answer is to be BOTH prideful AND humble.  (ooooh- I love messing with your heads!)  On the surface, these two things seem like oxymorons.  In fact, often scripture seems paradoxical.  (He who loves his life will lose itThe King of High places was born in the lowestHe died and yet He lives!)  But with wisdom is understanding and then all of the sudden it all makes sense.  They aren't contradictions at all-but complimentary.

There is such a thing as righteous pride-just as there is such a thing as righteous anger.  We need to be prideful of the One who is deserving.  Our pride should point to Him and the only way to do that is to be humble.  Righteous humility draws attention to God and NOT ourselves.   When we make OURSELVES lower, we EXALT Him.

It isn't about us.

But then again--it is.


Terri said...

This reminds me of a song by Paul Baloche that we sing in church called, "I Will Boast."

Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom
Or the strong man boast in his strength
Let not the rich man boast in his riches
But let the humble come and give thanks
To the One who made us, the One who saved us

I will boast in the Lord my God
I will boast in the One Who's worthy
I will boast in the Lord my God
I will boast in the One Who's worthy, He's worthy

Good post, Rebecca!

Debbie said...

Very nice and timely post! Be blessed!

Tracy said...


JenniferM said...

A thorough explanation of pride will tell you that even depression is rooted in the sin of pride.
As with many things in the spiritual life, the highest point is often between--or even entirely seperate from--the extremes which in this case means directing all of our successes, failures, happiness, and sorrows to their rightful purpose of glorifying God.

Anonymous said...

pray tell, is the center of that gorgeous flower truly navy blue??! or is it a deep purple? so lovely - your photographs are simply fantastic -
b in va

Anonymous said...

There's an Avett Brothers song "The Perfect Space" that has these lyrics:

"I wanna have pride like my mother has,
and not like the kind in the Bible that turns you bad"

Recently, I had to talk to my kids about "pride" vs. "pride" because you're right. . . we're supposed to take "pride" and do our best to glorify Him. But when we take the credit solely without glorifying Him - and to the point we let it destroy our relationships with others, it is an awful thing.

My uncle always says that once someone realizes they are humble, they've actually lost their humility.

I would have to disagree with JenniferM though that depression is rooted in the sin of pride. Sure, I think it can be fueled by envy and covetousness and perfectionist tendencies we might have when we try to be superior, but depression is also chemical sometimes too. I think we have to be careful about that. I have known some downright truly humble people who struggle a great deal with depression.


...they call me mommy... said...

Hi my name is Amy and I'm a Christian and I'm prideful. (hopefully NOT all the time!) There now you know ONE Christian who says they are prideful...;)

Good post!

Full of Grace said...
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Full of Grace said...
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aeolian said...

Thank you for this! I've been thinking about this a lot lately, I tend to be the type that thinks WAY too much about me - in the lowly- constantly bashing myself-constantly wishing I was better at things sort of way. Every time I catch myself doing this I keep reminding myself: He must increase, I must decrease. Sometimes I have to repeat several times. In one minute. :P

And...BEAUTIFUL pictures, as usual. :)

Caroline said...

Though I agree with you that the self-deprecatory person is as guilty of pride as the boastful one, I have to totally disagree with JenniferM that depression is rooted in pride.

Depression has been well-documented as a physiologic disorder; neurochemicals are in an imbalance. How awful it would be to tell a depressed person that it is 'all in their head' and that 'they should get over it', that they are just seeking attention because of their pride.. When, in fact, they can't...they may need some medical intervention or perhaps some cognitive therapy. I've known some fine Christian counselors that work wonders in cognitive therapy.

Let us try to understand each other before we make casual judgements.


Leah said...

I have indeed seen both sides in myself.