The Isolation Of Pride
By: Brian Kim
I suppose you could call me a dreamer, a bit of an idealist. From childhood, the Gospel story of laying one’s life down for another resonated deeply with me. I spent countless hours creating different versions of the same scenario in which I’d give my life for someone else. In my fantasies, I would revel in feelings of pride as one who would be recognized as a hero. My idealistic boyhood desire to help others was a good thing, but as I grew older it took a different turn.
As I learned more about the world, I discovered that not everyone cared for others the way I thought they should. I became aware of war, poverty, abuse, neglect and, worst of all to me, self-absorption. I didn’t see myself this way, and in pride, I elevated myself to a place of superiority over the rest of the world. You see, sinful pride is putting ourselves in the place of God, and refusing to recognize that we are created beings that depend on God and exist in relationship with others (Augustine, 1947).
Sinful pride has many consequences, but in my case, my pride isolated me from the rest of the world. I would despondently dream of a world without anyone but God and me. I grew weary of seeking out any significant human connection. I became depressed, without friends and with little desire to do anything beyond the bare minimum. This carried on for quite a few years and yet, through it all, I still claimed some faith in Christ.
It was only when I made a decision to do a Discipleship Training School with Youth With A Mission that I finally learned what it meant to follow Jesus. This slowly began to unravel so many years of delusion and disappointment in the world. Knowing the truth about Christ gave me a whole new perspective on how God is renewing all of us and everything on Earth. Most of all, it was cracking the foundation upon which my pride was laid. I could no longer look in the mirror and claim to be better than others, instead I saw the truth of Romans 3:23-24, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
It took a lot of repentance and rearranging of my life, but God healed much of my bitterness and wounds. I retired my station as judge and adopted a new verse to build my life on, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Meditating on this scripture humbles me as I realize I am a sinner saved only by grace and called to love and forgive others in the same way.
Have I purged pride from my life completely? No, but by inviting God into my thoughts and my frustration, I center myself on the hope of Christ and not on the brokenness of man. My life is no longer being built on the ever-changing landscape of circumstances and daily interactions, but on the hope of Christ who can change hearts, even one that’s prone to pride.
In reflection, are you prone to sinful pride in your life? Has it also isolated you from God and others? Know that God in His great mercy loves us in the midst of our pride, and invites us to trust Him as the creator and sustainer of our lives.
This blog is a part of our Live Into Who You Are series where we share personal reflections of how the Holy Spirit redeems a heart. Traditional vice and virtue pairings are used to help share and structure these reflections. Read more posts here.