Pride is a terrible sin. I think a good case can be made from Scripture to say that pride is the root of all evil.
- God’s Word says in Psalm 10:4 that In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
- In Proverbs 8:13 He says The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
- Proverbs 11:2 says when pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
- Proverbs 16:5 tells us Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished;
- Proverbs 16:18 says Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
- Proverbs 18:12 Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.
Peter in 1 Peter 5:5, and James in James 4:6 both write: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
Pride should not consistently characterize a believer. Proverbs 21:4 says that Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin. 1 Corinthians 13:4 reminds us that love, which should be the chief attribute of believers, is not arrogant (prideful). Pride was Satan’s downfall, and is the overarching trait of his followers. Believers have been freed from the power of sin and darkness, so they should not share the characteristics of those still in Satan’s kingdom.
A wise, older Christian lady friend recently said to me of pride:
When we are prideful, we forget to have grace for others, we forget we don’t know everything, we forget our own wicked, evil hearts, and we forget that our disdainful responses and arrogant advice breaks down relationships instead of building them up. It is a sad, sad thing all-around.
She is exactly right. One of the worst things about the sin of pride is that it blinds us. Proverbs 12:15 warns about the blinding quality of pride: The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. Similarly in Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
It is particularly difficult when we encounter pride in a fellow believer. We expect it from the unsaved, as we ourselves once were. However, it is particularly difficult to swallow from a brother or sister; it is more offensive somehow. How do we deal with prideful brethren? We turn them over to the Lord, because the Lord will discipline His own (Hebrews 12:6). And then, instead of focusing on their pride and blindness, we look inwardly, and examine our own hearts. We cannot change other people, but we can learn from their error and make sure that we are not in error ourselves.
Like my older sister in the faith wisely pointed out, pride destroys. It tears down relationships, it hardens our hearts, it blinds us so that we don’t see the truth as clearly, and it hinders our effectiveness for Christ. We hamstring our sanctification when we give into our pridefulness, causing our growth in Christ to be delayed for a season. I encourage us all, myself included, to make it a regular part our prayer life to ask the Lord to keep us from the sin of pride. To open our eyes where we are being prideful, and to make our hearts receptive to identifying pridefulness in ourselves. God is always pleased to answer the prayers of the saints that are in keeping with His will. And it is His will that we be void of pride.
Soli Deo Gloria!