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 it. The King of High places was born in the lowest. He 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.
But then again--it is.