Pride: Illusory Superiority Running Amok


I thought I was wrong once, and then I realized I was mistaken… Isn’t that how the prideful saying goes?  God is clear over and over in his word to us: if we are prideful, we will experience a downfall.  We will be humbled. No matter how great we think we are…

18 Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18

12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.
Proverbs 18:12

12 The Lord Almighty has a day in store
for all the proud and lofty,
for all that is exalted
(and they will be humbled)
Isaiah 2:12

Who hasn’t been humbled?  Typically I come to the end of my pride when I am apologizing for something I have said or done or not done.  There is nothing more profound in demonstrating our humanity than realizing we have made a mistake. 

God is most pleased to help us realize that we put our pants on one leg at a time like our neighbour does.  He can do it within a blink of an eye.  How?  We simply need to reflect on how he commands the wind and the waves with his voice, how he created the heavens and the earth, and even how he rescued Israel from mighty Pharaoh (who had his own pride issues).  If God wants to humble you, he can part a sea and close it up on you as you are chasing your mistaken dreams through it…

That isn’t meant to sound threatening, yet why do we think God will allow us to walk around with prideful spirits when he cast Lucifer and his demons from heaven for the same prideful arrogance?  We don’t think this is a big enough deal.  Maybe it’s because we live in the western world, with overwhelming American influence (not to say that the French or the Brits haven’t had their fair share of pride troubles), and our television viewing promotes self-inflation…

Pride goes before destruction.  Before downfall.  Before humility.

Why not start there?  Why not go there right now?  Why not take on the mind of Jesus Christ, from Philippians 2, in which Jesus – even though he is fully God – took on the form of a servant for our sakes?  Isn’t that enough of an example for us?

It ought to be.  Yet still I think more of myself than I should.  And you do too…

Don’t believe me?  Google illusory superiority and you’ll find out that the majority of people believe they are better at x than everyone else, with research supporting this relating to:

  • IQ
  • Memory
  • Cognitive Tasks
  • Academic Performance
  • Job Performance
  • SAT Scores
  • Leadership
  • Popularity
  • Relationship Happiness
  • Healthy Behaviours
  • Driving Ability

And it gets more interesting because relative incompetence at tasks actually makes our erroneous views of ourselves worse…

We can’t all be above average, folks.  No, in fact, the only thing we all are is prideful and wrong. Even if we are above average or right about one thing, we are below average and wrong about something else.

Follow Jesus into humility.

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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