For me, the scariest sin is pride. It scares me because it is so deceitful. When I sin in other ways — for example when I am unfair to Marisa — I feel bad. But when I fall into pride, I feel great!
Someone once said that pride is the only disease that makes everyone else sick except the one who has it. Everyone can tell when I get proud. And it seems like they all have the “ministry” of putting me in my place, too. Have you ever walked down the street and seen someone with an attitude that said, “I’m the best thing going”? You probably felt like asking him, “Just who do you think you are?” Yeah, you wanted to put him in his place.
Well, there is a verse that speaks to such an attitude and it terrifies me. It says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.1 It is not only people who resist the proud, but God does, too. God is committed to resist me when I am proud. That is awful. The only hope I have to ever be a good person is God and He resists me.
I can see I am getting into a prideful attitude when all of a sudden everything irritates me. I start thinking that I deserve better. It seems like others are not treating me the way they should. Don’t they know who I think I am?
Normally this bad disposition is not just seen by getting mad — although the wrath of man does not ever bring about the will of God.2 I begin to manipulate. I want my own way. I want to intimidate and scare so that others do what I want.
What do I do to fight against this sin of pride? (I believe that pride is my greatest enemy.)
1) Be grateful. I need to express my thanks out loud. Pride is never grateful. When I see that someone has done something thoughtful for me, I want to and need to recognize it and express gratitude.
2) Ask forgiveness. Pride never wants to ask forgiveness. So, I say I am sorry for insignificant things (as seen from my perspective) such as being unfair to Marisa. It always feels good to the other person when I ask forgiveness and for some reason, what I have done that was insensitive never seems insignificant from their perspective. My flesh resists this ferociously, but asking forgiveness always reminds me that I am not nearly as important as I sometimes think.
3) Praise God. I cannot praise God with thanksgiving and continue in arrogance. 33If I sit in my chair, turn off the light, wind down and begin to praise Him for my salvation and all of the blessings He has brought to my life — the greatest blessing from Him is Marisa — I can observe changes in my attitude. He is good. He is just. He is merciful and I recognize this and that puts me in my place, just where I need to be.
4) Praise others. I say, “You sure do a good job” to the waiter (when it is true), or “You are funny” to those who are, or “You know, I never thought of that”. It has to be true, but these observations do come to my mind. I just make myself say them out loud. It is good for me to say these things and it is good for the other person to hear them.
Jesus said that whoever falls on the stone will be broken but whoever the stone falls on will be crushed.3 God loves us. If we do not fall on the stone ourselves, He loves us enough to do whatever needs to be done so that we do not continue on in the sin of pride. If we do continue in pride, He will resist us and that is not His desire.
1- James 4:6 2- James 1:20 3- Matthew 21:44