I never cease to be amazed how pride can affect the human condition. Tiger Woods’ revealing public apology for his extramarital affairs, shows how sporting success led in his case to pride and a sense that universally accepted moral standards did not apply to him:
“I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules did not apply. I never thought about who I was hurting… I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt I was entitled........ I don’t get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself “.
In the same way politicians are not immune from pride. Faced with possible impeachment in 1998, President Bill Clinton eventually owned up to an adulterous sexual encounter with 22 year White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton later admitted that he acted as he did..... “just because I could”.
In the dictionary, pride is defined as “an inflated sense of one's personal status or accomplishments, often used synonymously with hubris.......extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.” (Wikipaedia)
It is a sad fact that Christians can get caught up in behaviour which stems from pride. Tim Brannagan of ‘Freedom to Lead International’, a ministry dedicated to ‘cultivating Christ-centered leaders’ clearly points out the corrosive effects of pride among some Christian leaders:
“Two symptoms of pride in Christian leadership is lack of teachability and self-righteousness. Lack of teachability manifests itself as leaders begin to reject dissenting points of view, monopolise decision making, and force their ideas on others. Surrounding themselves with people who only agree with them slowly stifles the ministry as leaders become unable to adapt to the changing needs of the ministry. The lack of teachability and self-righteousness makes leaders blind to their own moral inadequacies. Is there any wonder why God despises a prideful spirit ? ”
Nineteen year old pop star Justin Bieber caused a media furore when during a visit to the house where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis said..... "Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber." (A ‘belieber’ is a Justin Bieber fan).
Anne, died at the age of 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in1945. Her diary, first published in 1947 has been read by millions across the world. It details the privations she and her family experienced in hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
Humility is a powerful antidote to pride. In the Bible, the Apostle James provides some excellent advice: “If you are wise and understand God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.”........are you listening Justin ?