The strange thing about pride is that it is often a character flaw we see so easily in others, and yet seem so blind to in ourselves. To admit that we’re wrong is to admit a lowering of ourselves and our own “self-esteem”. We don’t even see that what is driving this quick reaction is pride itself!
A good friend of mine gave me this list not too long ago, and I found it to be especially thought-provoking. Pray over it, meditate on it, and consider each with an honest look inside the heart. It’s amazing how many ways pride shows itself.
Manifestations of Pride by Stuart Scott (from “The Exemplary Husband”)
1. Complaining against or passing judgment on God
A proud person in a difficult situation thinks, “Look what God has done to me after all I have done for Him” (Numbers 14:1-4,9-11; Romans 9:20).
- A Lack of Gratitude in general.
Proud people usually think they deserve what is good. The result is this, they see no reason to be thankful for what they receive. As a matter of fact, they may even complain because they think they deserve better. They tend to be critical, complaining and discontent. The proud person is not in practice of being thankful toward God or others (2 Chronicles 32:25).
A proud person is often an angry person. One’s anger can include outbursts of anger, withdrawing, pouting, or frustration. A person most often becomes angry because his “rights” or expectations are not being met (Matthew 20:1-16).
- Seeing yourself as better than others
A proud person is usually on top looking down on others. He gets easily disgusted and has little tolerance for differences (Luke 7:36-50).
- Having an inflated view of your importance, gifts and abilities
Many proud people have a very strong perception of themselves. They need a loving dose of reality. They need to hear, “What do you have that God did not give you?” (1 Corinthians 4:7).
- Being focused on the lack of your gifts and abilities
Some proud people may not come across proud at all, because they are always down on themselves. This is still evidence of pride because one is focused on self and wants self to be elevated. Having a “woe is me” attitude is self-pity which is pride (1 Corinthians 12:14-25).
People who strive for everything to be perfect often do so for recognition. They may do it so that they can feel good about themselves. Whatever the reason, this behavior is very self-serving and proud. The basic problem is making things that are less important, more important (Matthew 23:24-28).
- Talking too much
Proud people who talk too much often do it because they think that what they say is more important than what anyone else has to say. When there are many words, sin is generally unavoidable (Proverbs 10:19).
- Talking too much about yourself
A person who is proud may center on themselves in conversation. Sharing personal accomplishments and good personal qualities with others can be bragging or boasting (Proverbs 27:2, Galatians 6:3).
- Seeking Independence or control
Some proud people find it extremely difficult to work under someone else or to submit to an authority. They have to be their own boss. They might say, “I don’t need anyone,” or “I don’t need accountability for my faith and doctrine.” They are often rigid, stubborn, headstrong, and intimidating. They may also say, “It’s my way or no way” (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; Ephesians 5:21).
- Being consumed with what others think
Some proud people are too concerned about the opinion of others. Many of their decisions are based on what others might think. Some are in a continual pursuit of gaining the approval and esteem of others. Focusing on what others think of you or trying to impress others is being a man-pleaser rather than a God-pleaser (Galatians1:10).
- Being devastated or angered by criticism.
Proud people usually struggle a great deal with criticism. Such people cannot bear that they are not perfect or have weaknesses because they cannot accept who they really are (Proverbs 13:1).
- Being unteachable
Many proud people know it all. They’re superior. They can’t seem to learn anything from someone else. They respect no one (Proverbs 19:20, John 9:13-34).
- Being sarcastic, hurtful, or degrading
Proud people can be very unkind people. Those who belittle other people usually want to raise themselves up above others. Very often this can be quite cleverly done through jesting. Thy may excuse themselves by saying, “That’s just the way I am. That’s my personality” (Proverbs 12:18,23).
- A lack of service
Proud people may not serve because they are not thinking of others, or because they want to be coaxed to serve and don’t want to continue if there is no praise. Needing recognition is a sure sign of the wrong motive in service (Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 2:10).
- A lack of compassion
A person who is proud is rarely concerned for others and their concerns. They cannot see beyond their own desires (Matthew 5:7; 18:23-35).
- Being defensive or blame-shifting
You would often hear a proud person say, “Are you saying it’s my fault?” or “Well, what about you?” (Genesis 3:12-13; Proverbs 12:1).
- A lack of admitting when you are wrong
A proud person would make a great many excuses such as, “I was tired,” or “I was having a bad day” (Proverbs 10:17).
- A lack of asking forgiveness
Proud people rarely admit their sins or ask for forgiveness of other. They either cannot see their sin because they are blinded by their pride, or they just can’t seem to humble themselves before someone else and ask for forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24).
- A lack of biblical prayer
Most proud people pray very little, if at all. Proud people who do pray usually center their prayers on themselves and their desires, rather than God and others (Luke 1:10-14).
- Resisting Authority or being disrespectful
A proud person may detest being told what to do. We might say he or she has a submission problem. What they actually have, however, is a pride problem. It is simply displaying itself in a lack of submission (1 Peter 2:13-17).
- Voicing preferences and opinions when not asked
A proud person might not be able to keep his preferences or opinions to himself. He will offer it when it is not asked for. These preferences are usually voiced without consideration for others (Philippians 2:1-4).
- Minimizing your own sin and shortcomings
A proud person typically believes that their own sin is no big deal. They think they have little sin and others have a great deal of it. (Matthew 7:3-5).
- Maximizing other’s sin and shortcomings
To the proud person, other people are the problem. They may magnify or bring attention to the sin of others by gossiping about the other’s sin (Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 18:9-14).
- Being impatient or irritable with others
A proud person might be angry with other people because they are concerned that their own schedule or plans are being ruined. They are often inflexible on preference issues (Ephesians 4:31-32).
- Being jealous or envious
Often when they do not enjoy the same benefits, proud people have a hard time being glad for other’s successes or blessings (1 Corinthians 13:4).
- Using others
The proud person usually views others in terms of what those people can do for them and their interests. Their focus is not on ministering to others. Everything is for them and about them (Matthew 7:12; Philippians 2:3-4).
- Being deceitful by covering up sins, faults and mistakes
Some proud people will do just about anything in order for others not to find out negative things about them.
- Using attention-getting tactics
A proud person may try to draw attention to themselves through dress, bizarre behavior, being rebellious, always talking about their problems, etc. (1 Peter 3:3-4).
- Not having close relationships
Proud people often have no use for close relationships, thinking that the trouble outweighs the benefits. They may see themselves as so self-sufficient that they do not need other people (Proverbs 188:1-2; Hebrews 10: 24-25).
Did any of these surprise you?
How do you think pride effects our relationship to God and others?
Why do you think pride is so deceptive?
Can you think of any more?