These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Recently while a preacher was talking about training and raising children he said something that completely caught me off guard. He stated that sometimes when children act shy it is a matter of pride when it is not shyness at all. What he meant by that is a child can use the ruse of shyness to manipulate those around him and project to others that he is the most important person. At first I was skeptical of calling it pride, but then I began to think about what pride is and how it can be manifested in our lives.
Pride: a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
When the Bible speaks of pride I immediately think of someone with a haughty or arrogant spirit. This is someone who is boastful or vain. But don’t miss the subtle ways that pride can conceal itself in one’s life.
While listening to the Life of a Steward podcast recently I heard the host mention that busyness can be caused by pride. Busyness isn’t always because of pride, but that is one of the potential sources of it. It could be because you feel like you are the only one who can do a job right. No one else quite measures up. That is pride.
You might be busy because you desire for others to look at your accomplishments. Maybe your sense of value (pride) is wrapped up in how full you can cram your schedule. Or you feel superior to others when your calendar needs suspenders to hold all your appointments in place.
Pride is an attitude that God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19). Busyness, to the point of not being able to rest and honor God, leads us to exalt ourselves and ignore God’s command to take a Sabbath break. God’s people were exiled in the Babylonian captivity because of refusing to allow the land to have its Sabbath year of rest (Ezekiel 20).
Being a diligent worker and a faithful servant is not what I am talking about. God expects us to work. But when your motivation is from a sense of superiority to others, then your busyness can be a sign of pride.
I’m Not Good Enough
I recently had a dream from which I awoke irritated with my friends in the dream. [No, I don’t take my dreams as God giving me new revelation. But this dream illustrated something that I have often thought about.]
A group of friends and I were on a trip in which our bus broke down and we had to stay over a weekend in a place we had not planned. There were 20 to 25 people on this trip. A church graciously offered to let us sleep in their building. During the Sunday morning service everyone who normally sang in their choir had to be out because they were needed to serve in other aspects of the ministry.
I offered to the pastor that our group could fill his choir loft and help lead his church in worship. My friends and I were not particularly musically inclined (but neither was the choir in the church). Serving in this simple way could have been a way to thank the church for their generosity to us.
But, to my irritation, when I suggested that my group fill the choir loft they refused to do so. In the dream I lectured the 4 or 5 friends who did join me for the choir about the others in the group having a prideful spirit. I was literally preaching to the choir. The ones who were humble enough to serve received my wrath about not being a servant.
When I awoke from my dream, and after calming down from being agitated, I thought it was a good reminder to me how that I need to be willing to serve others whether I think I am good enough or not. I should serve where God gives me opportunities.
Often pride hides in the fact that we don’t feel qualified to do what God wants us to do. Isn’t that the whole story of Gideon in the book of Judges? God wanted Gideon to understand that he could not do the job by himself. He had to rely upon God. One of the main points of the story is that Gideon could not take any credit (pride) for how God worked because it was obvious that it was not Gideon who accomplished the task.
Not Trusting Others
Trusting other people is hard at times. Especially if you are someone in authority over others. If you can’t trust those around you, especially those who follow you, then you are going to be stifled in your ability to lead. I am not talking about abusing your power and authority, but sometimes it is necessary to delegate tasks to other people. Allow them to carry the load…even if that means they may fail.
Pride comes into play when you fear they will do a poor job and make you look bad. You are not concerned about the learning and growth potential of the event, you are only concerned with how you will appear to your peers or the authority over you.
Step away from your pride and help others grow.
Other Hiding Places
Pride can be hiding in plain sight in many other places. Sometimes it can be hidden in seemingly innocent attitudes. Though hard to spot at times, it is possible for someone to have a false humility that fears stepping up into leadership and authority because they enjoy sitting back and watching others fail.
Share in the comments below how you think pride can conceal itself in other traits.