Monday, August 26, 2019

How easily pride sneaks up ...

How easily I see the need of other people for correction. How often I think I recognize the attitude that is leading them to err. How slowly I realize that their bad attitude is one I have indulged in myself!
I am not bold enough to describe myself as a peacemaker: that’s a judgement for someone else to make. I have been trained as a conflict coach and mediator, however. In those roles I have mediated a number of conflicts. Early on I began seeing attitudes in people that impeded reconciliation.
In time I recognized that the bad attitudes typically originated in what the ancients described as “pride” -  the certainty that I am right and that the only good outcome is the one I desire. 
I made a mental note to stay away from this kind of pride. I have failed. That’s because I’m unaware of it when it grips me. It sneaks up on me! 
How easily pride sneaks up …
I have read of the destructive effect of pride in historical figures like the capable revolutionary war general Benedict Arnold, a traitor. I get a self righteous impulse to say “I’d never go there.” Then I do, within the context of my much less spectacular life.
I was preparing to write a piece on the destructive power of pride in public men, when my grandchildren dropped in. Feeling I was engaged in an important scholarly investigation, I begrudged them but little time and attention. My wife kindly asked me if I was feeling well. Suddenly I realized I was practicing the same kind of flawed conduct I was hastening to point out in two prominent American military men!
The next time the grandchildren came over, I reminded myself over and over of the reason we moved into a home two blocks from them: to be close to our family. Not to write judgmental articles about public figures now long dead.
May God grant that I never again forget why He has left me here. To pursue what He considers good. And may He forgive and correct me if pride sneaks up on me successfully again and I give in

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

What can possibly be wrong with pride?

If I hear someone say about me, “He is proud of his achievements,” how tempting it is to for me to consider that a compliment. However, the statement is not a compliment if the person means “He is preoccupied with his achievements and, in his own mind, is the leading person in the drama that is his life.”

In the preceding sentence I paraphrased a statement that author Nathaniel Philbrick made in His book “Valiant Ambition” about the Revolutionary War traitor Benedict Arnold.

Arnold was a very successful American general till pride took him down the road to ruin.

Shall I not ask myself, “Is my pride taking me to a different place?” Scripture says: “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” 1 Peter 5:5 (ESV)