Archive for the ‘pride’ Category

Pride and Power

April 16, 2021

Power seems to draw out the latent personality tendencies within us.

Think of people you have known or read about who achieved some level of power–political, organizational, familial–and whose basic personality came out.

Some leaders use the power to satisfy sexual lust that had lay hidden and eventually caused a downfall. Some have seen their pride cause them to lose their way and alienate those around–even to the extent of losing power and even winding up in jail.

On the other hand, sometimes power draws out hidden strengths. Think of people who have been thrust into powerful leadership positions whether in government, business, church. They stepped up to the challenges often surprising all but their closest friends.

Self-awareness becomes important. We must see those tendencies. We must deal with them before the negative ones cause our downfall.

Sometimes I think that Wisdom literature such as the Proverbs or the letter of James lead me to believe that there is no hope for the prideful. I hope not. Although I’ve seen many prideful people in positions of power who seem unable to come to grips with their own pride following a fall.

A lesson for us. In our daily meditations, take some time regularly to do a self-check. Have people been dropping hints that perhaps our worst tendencies are showing in our leadership? Or have our strength and vision and humility come through?


July 15, 2020

“No matter what the topic of the sermon was,” my friend told me, “the preacher always turned it into a talk on sexual sin. Then one day he left town with the wife of the chairman of the Board of Deacons.”

An acquaintance of mine maintained a constant refrain of “Praise Jesus” and otherwise seemed over the top with verbal spiritual exclamations. Given an opportunity he had an affair and left his wife. Then he was angry when people looked for a sense of repentance feeling he had done nothing wrong.

This week yet another prominent evangelical teacher and church leader felt the sting of a reversal of the publicity that evidently he craved when it was the other way. He showed righteous anger a couple of years ago while condemning his former boss and mentor. Now the flying fickle finger of fate points at him.

At first he and his board of elders tried to finesse the problem away. Give a half-hearted and quick acknowledgement of a “wrong decision” and then just continue on as usual. Except—when you’ve made yourself prominent, people are watching. And secrets eventually come out. I anticipate another quite public forced resignation of a pastor and the board.

The question really isn’t about such leaders. It’s about us. We all harbor some amount of pride. Ancient people knew the destructive power of pride. Yet, even those who teach about it fall by it.

It is worth looking in the metaphorical mirror daily and trying to answer truthfully the question of at what point during the day did I let pride interfere with my humility. It’s not if, but when. And what am I going to do tomorrow to defeat it.