This blog represents my personal reflection and journey with the Lord and is not to be taken as a teaching from EEC – it’s a letter I wrote to my prayer family and pre-believing friends
😈 Why is PRIDE so deceptively damaging to us? 😈
By Stephen L France
Dear friends and family, believers and pre-believers,
2018 has been an incredible year from start to finish, where God has been leading me to possess an increasing faith, trusting HIM as the ‘three persons’ HE is—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
With the wisdom HE has revealed, this has compelled me to proactively and intentionally relinquish human control methods, the tangible world around me, and the obvious, logical steps to progress in life that are traditionally distinguished as clear, rational thinking.
In effect, the Lord has shown me an ever-fulfilled life of daily “walking by faith not by sight,” 2 Corinthians 5:7, which has been astonishing.
One thing that’s been imposing on my mind recently, is what I’ve learnt about one of the opposing traits of walking by faith—PRIDE.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13
In the above verses, we not only see the definition of PRIDE through what love “does not do,” but we also see what the ultimate shift of confidence in PRIDE to God looks like via the description of love. PRIDE appears as the antithesis to the righteous and the humble.
This has provoked me to 'pour out' an update of the continued journey thus far.
*** If you have any questions about the following, please contact me. I'd love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why is PRIDE so bad?
When I was a child and first heard the classification of Christian teachings in the form of the 'seven deadly sins,' I always wondered:
Why is PRIDE traditionally seen as the worst?
Why not WRATH or GREED?
Both WRATH and GREED have clear, external effects on the way we behave and our interaction with others.
Why not GLUTTONY? This definitely unveils itself given sufficient time and enough pepperoni pizzas!
Why not SLOTH, ENVY, or LUST? Again, all these sins have obvious, conspicuous activity in our lives that can be quantified.
Surely PRIDE is a good thing and does no harm to anyone?
In these past four years, this questioning of PRIDE has been granted the TRUTHFUL understanding one can only gain from surrender (realising it's not to follow our way), humility (asking to be taught the right way), and obedience (following through with the wisdom provided no matter how strange).
Pride's true nature...
In the Bible, God says numerous things about HIS hatred of the sin PRIDE, but also how detrimental it is to us. Why would God hate something? I ask.
Here are a few examples from one of the books of wisdom – Proverbs…and there are many, many more throughout the Bible.
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 6:16-20
To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behaviour and perverse speech. Proverbs 8:13
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.Proverbs 11:2
Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. Proverbs 13:10
The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. Proverbs 26:12
Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honour. Proverbs 29:23
This year more than any other year, I’ve learned and been vocal about PRIDE’s deceptively damaging nature.
PRIDE is not only massive in its dominion over our thought processing, it’s the core of the other six sins. I understand why God says it's not simply perilous to us; it's evil and HE hates it.
It sounds dramatic at first, perhaps interpreted by some as a literary device to add hyperbola in the Bible, but when one puts aside their own understanding of PRIDE and listens to God's, the reasoning becomes very clear as to why selfishness/survival instinct--which is PRIDE--is such a death-trap, and good reason for God to hate it.
Here are several points that have emerged this year about the nature of PRIDE and its effect.
(1) Pride emerges out of pain
PRIDE is a defensive, survival strategy of the mind to supposedly protect us. It's also a mask to allow for easier interaction in society.
Like the creation of Frankenstein's monster, we analyse society, pluck the things we deem likeable and worthy of admiration, then create a mask out of those qualities to not only wear, but become our identity.
We don't see our PRIDE as a monster. We see it as a perfect creation...oops...
The mask grafts so deep into us like a parasite, and at times, it can be hard to discern whether our actions come from PRIDE (the mask) or humility (surrendered, repentant mindset).
PRIDE will compel us to do things completely for selfish gain.
Some of these acts can appear 'beautifully selfless,' but the foundation or intention of the action is to make ‘self’ feel better. Therefore, it's about being brutally honest with oneself to find out whether a motion is born out of pleasing self (PRIDE) or sincere selflessness.
(2) Pride is the greatest deception in the world
Because PRIDE has emerged out of pain, it's a deception at its core.
To get to grips with this idea, we each need to review childhood 'woundedness' within us and see what vows, promises, and/or oaths we created out of pain.
Some are so subtle, it’s shocking.
Others are repressed or deliberately suppressed, but the trauma is there even in the slightest of slights, and most minuscule of moments. It can take a few seconds, but in that hurt, one makes a promise.
Often, we don’t even realise we made such vows to “never be hurt in this way again,” and then we continue on with the life-coping mechanism that was conceived from a seed of hurt…a seed of PRIDE.
(3) Pride looks and feels good...temporarily….
The coping mechanism created through hurt and authorisation of PRIDE can look and feel really good. It’s 'human wisdom.' Human wisdom can justify just about any action we think or do, because we’re very creative beings.
An example considered light when in fact it's very serious, is the addiction to social media; the intentional and repetitive need to post photos to have ourselves validated and ‘liked’; to place our self-worth into the judgement of other people.
It feels fantastic when the likes come up alongside the comments, but such conduct needs to be consistent as the temporary ‘high’ wears off quickly.
If we're not rewarded with likes from our photo posting efforts, we're left heavily depressed and even suicidal.
While the core of the depression or suicide isn't the social media itself, the mask doesn't allow an individual to get to the root of their pain. It (PRIDE) conceals the hurt and this can lead to irrevocable consequences.
(4) Pride = Independence…this is also, not healthy for us…
In its completeness and finality, PRIDEin action is the freewill choice to separate from God.
Considering God is the epitome of love and goodness, PRIDE in us authorises all the aforementioned points and may open doors to decisions we'd not even consider morally wrong.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4
I still remember when I was in my second year of university and my housemate came back from her criminology class.
She had a very pleased look on her face and boldly said,
“We’re all criminals.”
A new the statement was supposed to provoke a reaction and I being self-righteous and eager to maintain my morality, proudly responded to her,
“I’m definitely not a criminal. I’ve never committed a crime in my life.”
My housemate being fresh, ready, and enthusiastic about the wisdom she’d just acquired from her class, proceeded to explain something to me that has remained with me now fourteen years later.
She said, “You download movies ,don’t you Stephen?”
“Yeah, nothing wrong with that,” I said.
“Do you pay for those movies?” she questioned.
“No, they’re available to download from torrent sites.”
“So you’re stealing.”
“I’m not stealing. Anyone can download them.”
“But you know that these are goods for sale. These sites aren’t legal.”
I may have tried to continue the argument a bit...yes I tried, but the truth was, I knew I was beat.
I was breaking the law, but through PRIDE which created subjective morality, I’d justified the crime in my mind.
It wouldn't be until eleven years later when I found God or should I say God found me, that I would actually erase my entire collection of 'stolen movies and TV series.' By then, the collection was immense.
Now, if you place that model of thought on every human on Earth, you can see why the world is in the mess it’s in.
You can see why a thief justifies their crime with, "I need the money. I've been dealt a hard life," right up to a serial killer who says, "I'm doing good and cleansing the Earth of wicked humans."
Subjective morality through PRIDE allows for a multitude of seemingly harmless or clearly harmful actions to happen. We just choose in our PRIDE or are deceived by our PRIDE into living in such a way.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. Psalm 10:4
I’ve barely scratched the surface on the subject of PRIDE, but these concepts have made my next few day-to-day life-choices very clear.
God willing, in 2019 I will be attending a school in YWAM Oregon again; this time for Bible study not mission.
There is no doubt, with 2018 being what it has been and continues to be, 2019 will surely reveal even more surprises.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Love and blessings,
Stephen L France