“Don’t let pride get in the way.” I have heard this for so long but one ever told me, “This is how you overcome pride.” No man is free of this vice yet it abhorred when seen on another man and hardly recognized when practised on self. People admit to all other vices yet no one admits to being prideful. Truly, the more we have it, the more we loathe it on others. Self- conceit begins when we start looking down on something or someone and as long as you are looking down, you can’t see something that is above.
Being a Christian, I admit to being caught up thinking that I am far better than a certain person. The ‘How can they live like that’ attitude. C.S Lewis in his book Mere Christianity points out that our religious life might often make us feel good and better than others. He points out that forgetting yourself is much better than the former. Also, one can achieve bravery, chastity, self- control and all this lead you to be proud of your accomplishments.
How Pride Manifests
It is important to know how pride manifestations to know how to overcome pride.
Lack of a thankful heart
Thinking you deserve God’s blessings and favour because of your actions is an outright show of pride. God does not owe you anything. In fact, we are blessed because of His reckless love for us and due to his grace and mercy. Once we start thinking God owes us, we stop being grateful for His blessings. A spirit of being discontent and thinking you deserve better settles on you. That is pride.
Thinking you are better than others
Easy irritation at others actions and not tolerate any behaviour that is different than yours. In time, you think you are God’s marking scheme on righteousness. This makes you look down on others to the extent of developing a hate for them while believing you are doing it on God’s behalf.
For example, taking the prodigal son story in Luke 15, you can see the big brother attitude with regards to his younger brother. He tells his father, “But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him.” He considered himself so high, and moral that he is the only one who deserved such treatment. The younger brother was way below him and not worth anything.
This is making decisions based on other people’s thoughts. Living for peoples praises, applause, admiration, and always fishing for it. However, at times vanity can be considered a humble fault. Shows you still have some humanity in you. Once you delight so much in yourself getting to a point you do not care for the praises at all, you are going south.
It is good not to care about what others think of you as long as you care so much more of what God thinks of you. Nevertheless, there is a thin line between not caring of what others think and pride. At times, we choose not to care because we have put the opinions of others so low that we can’t even dare think they can ever measure up to ours. Pride makes people nothing to you. You take so much pride in your integrity, personality, and conscience.
Inflated perception of self-worth
Always sharing our accomplishments, good qualities and you’re holier than thou values is considered as bragging or boasting. Putting so much value of our importance in this world leads to ego inflation and with time, developing a false persona to keep up the ‘good human’ charade.
Surely, everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. Man’s glory is not mentioned in this. Pride makes us seek to be this perfect being that others see. Working so hard to eradicate sins that others can see and content to live with the sins that only we and God are aware of.
Making Assumptions Before God
This is in reference to the prayer of the tax collector and the Pharisee in Luke 18. The Pharisee’s prayer was one of self-exaltation. On the other hand, the tax collector had a broken and humble heart. Sometimes, our moral standing makes us have so much boldness that we forget that God is God and we are just sinners.
There are many other ways pride manifests itself. It is funny and scary how pride can creep on us in the pretence of being morally upright and holy. It eats us up to the extent of not recognizing we are proud. Furthermore, it becomes one of those rocks that are set solid on the ground and if we are not careful, it will lead to our destruction.
Prescription to Overcome Pride
Truly, the cure to pride is humility. You need DISCIPLINE which is often followed by EXERCISE to overcome pride. In fact, we need both discipline and constant exercise of humility to be cured.
Although, I have to confess I have not fully conquered pride. It sneaks on me and I have to keep being cautious of my thoughts and actions. However, the first step is admitting that you are proud of. Whenever you think you are not conceited, that’s when you are.
Whenever you feel like you are; superior to fellow men, not in need of forgiveness, disregarding others feelings, jealous, irritable at others, or maximizing others sins, then you need to start praying for yourself as well as the other person.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who Humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 18: 14(b)
Here are some additional bible verses that encounrage as well as convict me.