Pride is said to be one of the seven deadly sins. But why?
When you get into a difficult situation and you know you have to go somewhere else or let go of it, and you prefer to hold your position or even not talk about it, then you are hanging on to your pride. You may think this is the easy way out, but it is not — all you are doing is putting your pride above the reality of the situation. How easy would it be to just drop your pride and solve the problem? But why do we not do this?
Almost everyone likes to be in charge. When we stick to this attitude, it leads nowhere. Like the Zax, we don’t move to the side to continue down the road. How easy would it be to move one foot to the left or right when necessary? But somehow we still have to hang on our resentment about not being “in control.” How many things does this ruin? Wars have started because of this attitude. “Religious” people have created conflicts just because their pride tells them they have the best faith, but meanwhile they forget how many good things they have in common. Even worse, pride can make us forget the true nature of God and of our innermost selves— which is love, compassion, understanding and forgiveness; none of these qualities can exist when our pride takes over. Letting go of too much pride makes us realize that we can work together without resentment. This is true for married couples, families, friends, and whole governments. God is always trying to remind us to work together as one family — which even animals do.
Don’t misunderstand me, however: You need some pride to function in life, so that you can stand up for yourself when appropriate. The trick is to know when and where this is necessary, and when it is not. It’s like baking: the recipe must have the right measurements of baking soda and sugar, for example, otherwise the cake will be ruined. So it is in life: Everything needs balance, especially pride. Walk down the street tall and proud, but never think you are better than anybody else — and when you encounter someone who blocks your path, be humble enough to avoid taking over the situation when it is not that important; walk around the other person and continue on your way. What is the best way to learn to let go of unnecessary pride? In my opinion, we should start when our children are young. They can learn to understand that no one must take control of all the toys; children should work with the toys and share them to be able to play together. And how many parents are in a store with children screaming for a new toy, and the parents just buy it so they don’t have to deal with it any longer? This teaches the children that they are in control, and so it carries on into adulthood, making people so proud that they cannot work together. Everything begins in childhood and grows throughout the decades. But even if we don’t learn control our pride as children, we can still use our conscience as adults to practice using humility to let go of too much pride. Humility is the pathway out of pride.
I will leave you with this: Be aware of when pride is taking you over, and use your conscience to see the difference between this and self-respect. You can be brave and accomplish new things, keeping your positive pride, but nothing will succeed unless you also know when to walk around an obstacle and create a new path. May God be with you always!
Rev. Nilcelia Davidson