Pride: What is It Really?
I had just landed in Nairobi. It was 6 am and as I looked around, I didn’t see my mother who was meant to pick me up. I had just been on this long 9-hour flight from England and I was exhausted. There was no one in sight!
That was 2 hours ago. So, there I sat, seething. I have much better things to do with my time, I thought. I could be sleeping, spending time with friends, anything other than this – waiting.
The attitude of my heart was, I don’t deserve to have this happen to me. The experience was obviously frustrating, but my attitude stemmed from a deeper problem.
I remember waiting, so furious that I even contemplated taking a taxi home.So why did I not call? Back then, mobile phones were few and far between.
Then someone interrupted my thoughts. It was my dad. He apologized for having come late stating that my mother had been feeling unwell and that he needed to come with her to Nairobi so we could pass by the hospital on our way home. You can imagine how that made me feel.
I grew suddenly convicted. What made my life more important than that of my mother? What’s wrong with me?
If we’re honest with ourselves, we all struggle with the perilous sin of pride. The question is not if such an infirmity exists in our lives, it’s where it exists. Like a tourist surveying an iceberg, we probably only see 10 percent of the full picture.
Pride runs so deep that is it makes us believe what people think matters more than what God thinks. It is so easy to spot pride. Okay, let me say that again, it is so easy to spot pride in others. I believe that’s more accurate. You see pride all the time. You know people who are often too proud to ask for advice, even though they desperately need it. You see people who cling to their ways, even when they are bad ways because they are too proud to change. You know people who are always one-upping others, people who love to go on and on about their accomplishments. You know far too many people who are obsessed with themselves whether or not there is much to obsess with.
You may be asking yourself. How did they become that person? How did they become the person who others constantly roll their eyes at, the one who makes people cringe, the one no one wants to listen to? How did they become the person who is so chiefly self-focused?
It’s always about others and never about ourselves. Most of us don’t see ourselves as proud yet many of us are. We are so quick to point fingers and say how proud they are yet we never look at ourselves and see our own pride. Yes, I know what you are thinking – I am not proud, me? About what? Why? Well my friends, pride at its heart is the obsession with self. It generates the desire you feel to protect, project, manipulate, advance, pretend, inflate and brag. It is so pervasive that if you ever reached the place of becoming humble, you might find yourself boasting about how meek you are. Pride is the hallmark of fools; fools know, they just don’t care! They have figured it out. Their way is better and if they end up in a ditch, well, it was not their fault.
Pride my friends, lives in the hearts of the insecure people who are not sure that they are all that great and secretly doubt that they ever will be.
So then, why pay attention to pride? Because unaddressed pride will destroy you and the many things you care about or know you should care about. It will leave a trail of destruction strewn with things you used to value or that a better version of you would treasure. Pride will snuff out your empathy, stifle your compassion, create division, suffocate love, foster jealousy, deaden your soul and make you think all this is normal. It will turn you into a person you loath or if it does not do that, it will infect your relationships with toxin that may not be fatal but is poisonous enough to kill your joy. Pride will leave you feeling empty despite everything you’ve accomplished. Pride will cost you your friendships, intimacy, respect, love, opportunities, rest, peace of mind, wisdom and even money.
You may be asking, Njeri, are you sure that pride emerges from a place of insecurity? I answer in the affirmative **ABSOLUTELY**! And for most of us, that’s exactly where it breeds.
So, how do you know if your insecurity, the sense that you don’t measure up is driving an unhealthy focus on yourself?
Join me next week and we can explore this together. We are here to help.