Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Problem with Pride - Part 2


Would you mind if I were totally honest with you for a moment? I have been told for a good part of my life that I was "pretty." I came to a place that I assumed everyone thought it a fact and that I had a "standard" to uphold by staying that way. I remember a time when I wouldn't go to my job at the local gas station (taking out the trash, mind you) without makeup on. I was allowed to wear makeup at a young age, and though I wore less as I got older, I did hold on to mascara and foundation for the longest.....Before your thoughts get carried away with thinking this will be a passionate tirade about the use of cosmetics, rest assured it's not. It is, however, a peek into what has in the past (and sometimes present) been a part of me, and how it relates back to the subject of pride. My vanity has been made manifest in makeup, haircuts, hair dye, and even the dreaded "tan in a bottle." I have to confess that since coming to Christ, however, the vanity that is in my heart has been the hardest to deal with. I will admit that on more than one occasion, I have regarded man's opinion of me, and oftentimes the opinion I have of myself, more than God's. While I pushed the compact away, my heart still held the vain thoughts of self-worth. I have been brought low on more than one occasion, and am learning more and more that the only good I have is from Him. Vanity is more than having "self-esteem." It is having "self-absorption." Vanity=Pride.



In my opinion, the real problem with judging other people is that when we do, we have unconsciously put our character above whomever we are judging. The fact is that all have sinned. We are all struggling with something, whether we want to admit it or not. Furthermore, the struggles on the outside are oftentimes if not all the time, no worse than the internal struggles. They just happen to be on display for the world to see. An old quote I used to hang in my room went something like, "We are inclined to judge ourselves by our intentions, others by their actions." And I still find that to be true. Here is a very present and personal example: I haven't been well lately. I have missed some Church because of it. I knew my intentions were not bad. Then why am I so quick to judge others for missing multiple services? God has very gently, but firmly, been dealing with me about how I hold different standards for myself than I do for others. And about how I presume to know the spiritual standard everyone else should be upholding, whether I do or not. Judgement=Pride



And now to touch on the subject of haughtiness. While I do not struggle with an arrogant nature like I used to, I still fight haughty thoughts every now and then. Haughtiness is an especially ugly type of pride. An arrogant, lofty kind. The opposite of what an humble servant of Christ should look like. Haughty people are confidant in their abilities, to the point of being proud of themselves, their accomplishments, and even their spirituality. Self exaltation. Haughtiness. Haughtiness=Pride.


I am confidant in saying that even a little bit of pride can cause big problems. These are just the beginning of what I am learning about myself and how certain problems feed other problems. Heaven knows I am still working on discovering all my inner-workings and how to deal with them. I am so thankful for the graciousness, forgiveness, and patience I have found in Christ.

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