Posts Tagged ‘pride’

Persistence Or Stubbornness 

January 13, 2017

When am I exhibiting the virtue of persistence or is it the destructive vice of stubbornness?

I get in situations where I care about the organization and just can’t help myself from trying again. Even though the track record of the organization or leader is poor. Am I persistent? Stubborn? Stupid?

Jesus called persistence a virtue when a person is seeking justice. Think of the story of the woman before the judge. She was a bit like the Proverb that describes a nagging wife like a persistent drip. The judge got so tired of her coming day after day that he granted justice.

On the other hand, think of the many times God calls the Jews a stubborn and stiff-necked people.

The father of persistence is seeking what is right. Being helpful. The mother of persistence is the wish to serve God.

The parent of stubbornness is pride.

Pride puts us first, not God. When pride grabs us, we are prone to all manner of sin.

Stubborn means going my own way. Not seeking or accepting advice. Putting my self before others or the mission. I’d rather fail than admit any weakness.

Maybe in my case, there is a third way. Foolish persistence begs the advice, “Hey, wake up and smell the coffee.”

Humility Is So Misunderstood

August 11, 2016

Being a humble person does not equal being a weak person.

I’ll let that sink in for a minute.

It takes great strength of character and personality to be humble.

19th Century philosophers (whose thinking still infects people) obsessed over power and powerful people. Most famous was Nietzsche and his Übermensch, translated in the comic books as “Superman.”

Today, many people, and evidently the popular press, still celebrate powerful people, especially men.

Yesterday I discussed pride. The antidote to pride is humility. We read in the Proverbs “Pride goes before a fall.” Jesus said, “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23: 12)

All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted. — Jesus

Humility merely means to put others first. To many in America–and evidently in many other places–putting others first is weak. But, pride and striving to achieve power over people is actually a manifestation of an inner weakness.

Putting others first means that my first response isn’t about me. Pride is “all about me.” It’s trying to make myself look better than I am.

We can develop a discipline around humility. For some, it probably comes to them naturally. Or maybe they were raised from infancy to consider others first. That would be me.

We can become self-aware about when our thoughts are moving toward “me first” and choose to consider other people.

The first step is that thought, that moment in time when we can choose, that moment in life before it becomes just a part of who we are.

We can choose.

Hold a door open for someone is a start. Help carry a physical burden. As we grow, we can help someone carry an emotional burden. We can listen to others. I don’t mean hear noise. Listen. With attention. Not with a busy mind thinking of our response or the beach.

Humility is a choice–a choice for life with-God.

We Act As If There Were No God

August 9, 2016

Let’s be honest with ourselves. For once. Really.

Don’t we sometimes act as if there were no God?

Is that why sometimes we don’t really take time to pray deeply? Or why we just read quickly over a Bible passage and call it “study”? Or why we pass by the hurting person and mutter, “I’ll pray for you.”

In Psalm 10, David who was no stranger to the effects of pride sang about it.

In the pride of their countenance the wicked say, “God will not seek it out” all their thoughts are, “There is no God.”

Yes, there are people who look at it as their full-time job to act as if there is no God.

My wife and I will think of someone. She’ll say, “Of course, we can’t see into their heart.” I’ll say, of course. But Jesus said that you’ll know his followers by their fruit. Are there any apples on that tree?

Pride. It’s the root of all evil. And so easily come by. And it hides in so many disguises.

I was in some sort of argument, typical of my youth, and someone said, “You’ve got too much pride.” Or, maybe I said it about myself.

Those are condemning words. I can still feel it. Probably like Peter when the cock crowed and he thought, “Oh, oh. What did I just say?” The realization hits. You are condemned by your own words.

It’s worth stopping often and reflecting on the past hours/days. When did my pride prevent me from doing what I know I should have been doing. When did I not help someone in need? When did I gloss over study instead of seeking deeper understanding and relationship with God?

For me? Yesterday. It’s too early yet this morning. But, I’m about to leave the house. Then, what will happen?

Pride Or Wisdom

August 14, 2014

I, Wisdom, live with prudence,
and I attain knowledge and discretion.
The fear of The Lord is hatred of evil.
Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
and perverted speech I hate.
–Proverbs 8:12-13

So many things that we do in life that separate us from God have their root cause in pride and arrogance. Solomon knew this 3,000 years ago.

As we grow older, we often begin to attain knowledge and discretion. Some don’t. And young people (we’ve all been there) think they have already attained knowledge. But living with God, eventually you look at people in their 30s and 40s who are striving against others for wealth and power–if even only on a relative scale.

Then we look back at those years and those who are there now and understand.

Where does pride leave self-assurance and go too far? Some of us are brought up in households of insecurity and low self-esteem. Where is it that we gain confidence and then where when we go too far and become filled with pride.

It is where you stop living with-God. It is where you put yourself first. Thinking only of yourself. Your desires. Your comfort.

How do you know that you are not in that place of separation from God? It’s when your heart and actions are for the benefit of others. When you listen to what God wants you to do–and then you do it. Humbly–that means thinking of others with no thought of your own gain.

When we arrive at that place, it is like a great weight has disappeared from our shoulders. We live free.

Maybe for some of us, this is a life-long struggle. We have been living in an age of Narcissism. It is all around us. Messages from advertisers and news reports and peers all whisper that we exist only to satisfy our own desires. Breaking free of that is not easy. But it is necessary to achieve the with-God life. And be free.