Pride is a destructive force, in at least three ways:
1. Pride prevents me from growing.
Proverbs 26:12 says “There is more hope for fools than for people who think they are wise.” This verse is a warning again pride. People who are puffed up with pride think they have all the answers to life’s problems so they don’t turn to others for help – which keeps them from growing. If I’ve got marriage problems and I won’t talk to anyone about it, that’s pride. If I’ve got financial problems and I won’t talk to anyone about it, that’s pride. When I’m not cutting it as a parent, when I’m not cutting it at work but I don’t want anyone to know about it because of what they might think about me, that’s pride. Pride keeps us from growing.
I was recently at a church leadership conference in AL where 3,400 pastors from 42 states and 19 countries had gathered to learn and grow as leaders. After each session you could go up to the microphone and ask questions. My pride almost kept me from going up. What if I sound stupid? What if I fumble over my words? What if I go up there and then forget what I wanted to ask? Pride almost kept me from growing as a church leader.
Now when you’re in your growth group, you’ll be tempted in the same way: What if people find out we have problems in our marriage? What will they think? What if I tell someone I need accountability? I won’t look as holy. What if I tell someone I’m struggling and I need prayer? People will realize that I don’t have it all together. You see, when we give in to pride, it always keeps us from growing.
2. Pride poisons my relationships.
Pastor Adrian Rogers once said “There has never been an argument, war, divorce or church split where pride wasn’t the major factor.” And he’s right! That’s true! How do I know? Well God’s Word says in Proverbs 13:10, “Only by pride cometh contention…” That means that pride is at the center of disagreement.
For Kristin and I – sometimes our arguments last longer than needed. Instead of having a five minute chat, a five hour argument ensues. Why? Because when you have two proud people involved in the argument, no one is working to try and solve the problem. Both people are working to be right! A proud person doesn’t want to be wrong so even if they are, they try and find a way to make the other person wrong. I remember one time arguing passionately knowing the whole time I was wrong. Why? I didn’t want to admit I was wrong because that would’ve hurt my pride! Finally I said “I was wrong. I’m sorry.” And the argument was over. As Proverbs 28:25 puts it “He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife…”
If you want to argue less (in or outside of marriage), just swallow your pride and admit it when you’re wrong. If you don’t, you can really destroy your relationships.
3. Pride distances me from God.
A prideful attitude is more than a bad habit. Pride is a sin. Proverb 21:4 says “Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin.” And all sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). It’s important to understand how offensive pride is to God. All sin offends God, but Scripture seems to indicate that certain sins really bother God. In the Bible when something really bothers God that sin is called an abomination. Well, pride makes the abomination list. Proverbs 16:5 says “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord…” And in case we didn’t get the message from that verse, God lists pride first on his list of seven things that he really hates in Proverbs 6:16-19. There’s seven things God hates but first on the list is pride! Pride bothers God so much that he actively works against those who are proud. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Since pride hurts us, our relationship with others and with God, this week we’re going to focus on how to kill pride in our lives. Check back throughout the week for posts on how to live a live of humility and kill pride in our lives.