Growing up I was told to hold my head up high and be proud. Pride to me meant I was strong. It meant I was capable. Pride meant that I would never need anyone or have to depend on anyone. On the surface, those things sound good, don’t they? But if that is true, why does Proverbs 16:5 say that God despises pride? Thankfully, God doesn’t keep us in the dark, He lets us know exactly why He despises pride.
Open your Bible and you will find stories of pride and the pain it caused. Pride is mentioned 62 times in the New Living Translation of the Bible and eight verses in Proverbs focus on the dangers of pride. Pride is the reason Lucifer fell and Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Because of Pride, Cain killed Abel and the Israelites wandered around the desert for 40 years.
So what is pride and why is it so bad? One definition of pride is a “feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people; and a feeling that you are more important or better than other people.” But practically speaking, what does pride look like in our everyday life?
PRIDE LEADS TO ARGUMENTS
“Pride leads to arguments” Proverbs 13:10a
Can I say ouch?! I don’t know about you, but I like to argue and I don’t like to lose. In fact, I used to argue just for the sake of winning even when I knew I was wrong. Have you ever been in an argument with someone, maybe your spouse and as the argument continues, you realize that what the other person is saying is true? But you know if you admit that it is true, you will lose the argument. Still you just can’t seem to admit you’re wrong. You can’t lose. You have to be strong. So you try another approach. You focus on another point, trying to confuse the enemy. Did I just say enemy? Yes, at this point your spouse is the enemy and the enemy must lose. That is PRIDE.
Pride is nasty isn’t it? Maybe it isn’t your spouse, but it is your parents or a friend. It doesn’t matter, the end result is the same. Pride chokes relationships like weeds choke a garden until those things we planted no longer have room to grow. Pride kills relationships.
PRIDE KEEPS YOU FROM SAYING YOUR SORRY
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23
Anyone else have trouble apologizing? Or apologizing first? Remember the argument that you had to win? Once its over, you start feeling bad. You know you were wrong. But you don’t want to apologize because apologizing means that you have to ADMIT you were wrong. PRIDE keeps you from apologizing and not apologizing damages, if not destroys relationships.
PRIDE MAKES YOU STUBBORN
“Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward.” Jeremiah 7:24
Others used to say I was stubborn as if that was a good thing. But you see, stubborn people don’t listen to other’s counsel because they don’t value other people’s opinions. Stubborn people think they are better than others, that they know best and don’t need anyone’s advice. They ignore wise counsel. That is PRIDE.
Refusing to listen to others because you think you know best can cause you to go backward and not forward. How would the Israelite’s destiny have changed if they would have listened to the wise counsel sent to them by God? What about you? Has there ever been a time when you have ignored wise counsel and wished you hadn’t? Have you ever said, I wished I would have listened? I don’t know about you, but I want to go forward and not backward. I want all that God has for me. I don’t want to miss my promised land.
PRIDE KEEPS YOU FROM SEEKING GOD
In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. – Psalm 10:4 NIV
Yes, that is the big one. Pride keeps us from seeking God. I know that was the case for me. I was strong. I was capable. I didn’t need anyone and I certainly didn’t need God. I thought that those who sought after God were weak. I thought that they were incapable. I thought God was for those with problems, not for people like me. That is PRIDE.
Pride keeps us from seeking God and fulfilling our God-given destinies.
GOD DESPISES PRIDE
Can you see why God despises pride? Pride destroys not only our earthly relationships, but our relationship with the one and only God, our Father. Every day people’s hearts are hardened to God because of pride. People think they do not need God, therefore they do not seek Him. When people do not seek God, they do not know God and when they do not know God they miss out on all God has to offer. God despises pride!