“Pride is pregnant with sin,” Augustine claimed back in the AD 390’s. And today, 1600 years later, we’re still wrestling with the very trait that leads us toward jealousy and resentment and always having the right answer.
I limit my definition of Pride, reserving it for those ugly moments when we just can’t resist self-promotion. When we feel important by putting others down.
But let me introduce you to Pride’s twin sister. Her name is Insecurity. I believe you’ve all met her before.
She’s the reason for so much brokenness in our lives as we unravel our friendships, hide from our life’s purpose, and sit in fear, paralyzed. Oh, that self-demeaning trait — she just won’t leave us alone as she teams up with Pride to wreak havoc.
It’s sort of like a dance. You go back and forth. Will it be Pride or Insecurity today? You end up hating yourself no matter who you choose to dance with. Pride? Insecurity? They’ll leave you drowning in self-loathing every time.
“Pride is blinding,” Stuart Scott writes. “This fact is why it is often difficult to see pride in ourselves, and yet so easy to see it in others.”
I can relate. Maybe you can, too.
It’s almost as if I choose to blind, choose to be deaf, to truth. I can’t bear to see what’s written on my heart, so I close my eyes and surround myself with a culture doing the same. I can’t bear to listen truth’s whispers, so I choose to not hear.
And because I’m hiding behind the mask called Insecurity, I feel better about it all. At least I’m not prideful… um, not really.
I complain and pass judgement on my Creator. Really God?! Why did you make me like this? I deserve better than this. I’m a bad mother, a bad wife, a bad employee. I don’t really have time for community. (Or really, I’m not brave enough for community.)
You see, even when I’m down on myself regarding how I perform or how I look, I’m prideful. I’m focused way too much on self. Period. Self-absorption is so destructive as it manifests itself as Insecurity. Or flagrant Pride. Or both. It’s all so complicated, but it’s our everyday reality. At least it’s mine.
These twins, they’re the reason we scorn ourselves when we peruse magazine covers in the check-out lane. They’re why we’re comparing our parenting to other men and women over and over. They’re the reason we crave that compliment, crave that “job well done”.
Do you think I care about the approval of men or about the approval of God?” Paul writes. “Do you think I am on a mission to please people? If I am still spinning my wheels trying to please men, then there is no way I can be a servant of the Anointed One, the Liberating King.” (Galatians 1:10)
There’s no way I can be a servant of the King who gives freedom when I’m dancing with Pride and Insecurity, absorbed by earning others’ approval. There’s no way I can reap the benefits the Liberating King wants to heap on me.
But the more I name the brokenness, the less power it has over me. As I open my ears to truth, as I open my eyes to Light, the silence and darkness is discovered for what it is. And I’m reminded I wasn’t created for silence and isolation. I wasn’t created for darkness and fear.
You have come from God and have conquered these spirits because the One who lives within you is greater than the one in this world. I John 4:4.