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What Christians Need to Know About Pride

Carola is a Christian writer and author of several books. She writes about Christian living, relationships, and other related topics.

Ever wonder if God had a list of things He hates in the Bible? There actually is one in Proverbs.

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:

haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Proverbs 6:16-19

Surprisingly, “haughty eyes” or pride top the list. In many places, God says that he hates pride and the destructive power it has on people. He humbles people who are proud and brings them low (Isaiah 2:11).

Why does God hate pride so much? God loves us and wants the best for us. He knows that pride is self-destructive, hurts others, and always gets people in trouble. On the other hand, Jesus described Himself as “gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29). His life is an example of being a servant and loving others.

Unfortunately, some people do not see that pride is at the core of many of their problems. They travel a road to destruction without being aware of it. There are examples of proud people in the Bible such as the Egyptian Pharaoh at the time of Moses and King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar by William Blake

Nebuchadnezzar by William Blake

The Pharaoh’s pride led to the devastation of Egypt and the destruction of his army. King Nebuchadnezzar was enraged when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not obey his command to bow down to a golden image he had erected whenever music played. Nebuchadnezzar ended up going insane and prowled his land like an animal for seven years before being restored to sanity.

Characteristics of Pride

In many ways, the characteristics of pride are the exact opposite of humility that God wants Christians to practice.

Pride is Selfish

Pride is about me, me, me! I have to have the best seats at a concert, the most expensive clothes, the best house on the block, and drive the fanciest cars. If I am walking your way, you better move out of the way! God hates this kind of attitude.

Jesus gave the example of proud people coming to a banquet and insisting on getting the best seats. We Christians should be content to sit at the back. There is always a chance that someone will tell us to move forward. If we claim seats upfront, we risk the embarrassment of someone asking us to move back. We can avoid experiencing humiliation by being gracious to others.

Pride is Easily Offended

When we are proud, we feel that the world revolves around us. We have rights, and we are not afraid to let the world know it. We are usually in a snit about something or caught up in conflict or a lawsuit.

However, when we are humble, we can put up with just about anything from obnoxious people (Ephesians 4:2). It is to our glory if we overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11). Jesus encourages us Christians not to seek our own way. Our lives are so much easier when we do not make demands all the time, or sulk and fume when people do not go along with our agenda.

Pride is Arrogant and Judgmental

Proud people look down their noses at others and feel superior to them. They often compare themselves to others, which is not a wise thing for Christians to do (2 Corinthians 10:12). Proud people criticize others and nitpick. In some cases, pride may be a cover for low-self esteem. They are so insecure in themselves that they resort to putting others down to feel better about themselves.

On the other hand, Christians should esteem other people better than themselves and treat them with honor and respect. They take care of the needs of others (Philippians 2:1-4). As a result, Christians who love their neighbors as themselves as Christ commanded can develop good relationships with others that promote peace and harmony in their lives.

Proud people Want to Look Good

Proud people want to look good in the eyes of the world so that people will think well of them. For example, they make a big public show of giving to charity. Arrogant people are also quick to take credit for anything that is done. On the other hand, Christians are willing to give credit where it is due and acknowledge God as the source of all things.

Proud individuals are often looking for advancement and the best of everything. They may take advantage of poor and needy people to get what they want (Proverbs 30:12-14). If they achieve their goals, proud people will feel unsatisfied until they try for something else. Pride will eventually cause them to fall into disgrace (Proverbs 11:2).

Humble Christians give to others in secret and do not care if God is the only one who knows what they have done (Matthew 6:1-3, 1 Corinthians 10:23-25).

What God Wants Us To Know

God wants us to realize that we are sinners and nothing special at all. Everyone has fallen short in God’s eyes and needs to repent. When we see ourselves as we truly are, we become humble and find rest for our souls.

On the other hand, Pride can devastate our relationships, careers, and spiritual life (Proverbs 21:4). It may motivate us to step on other people and use underhanded tactics to get what we want. Our attitude will always get us in trouble at home, at work, and out in the world.

Overcoming Pride

We can overcome the sin of pride by confessing it to God and repenting of it. We should pray to God and ask him to give us the strength that we need to change. If we continue in pride, we will feel dissatisfied, offended, and humiliated. Our lives will be full of strife and conflict. This is not how God wants us Christians to live. God wants us to live in harmony with others. God will lift us up if we have humble attitudes and are gentle with others (Ephesians 4:2, James:4:10). It is God who exalts us in the end.

Reference: The Holy Bible, New International Version

© 2021 Carola Finch

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