[Welcome to our annual Guest Writer Series! Introducing Danny, Guest Writer #7 (of 12). Danny is a recent college graduate and no doubt a naturally born leader. I can see why…]
I heard this phrase often when my friends noticed that my sarcastic humor often involved my pride pretty heavily. With sayings like:
“There is no way _____ could have spoken better than me.”
“How on earth did he get asked to be a speaker at this conference?!”
“He is just soft.”
“Did you hear how well I preached last night?”
“I bet you I could preach in front of 20,000.”
… or any other phrase that was a sarcastic way to elevate me or belittle others…
Now I know that when sayings like this are said, most of the time it would be out of good fun and sarcasm. For me, on the other hand, it showed the tendency of my heart. It wasn’t like every other week that these comments would be made; it was more like every other time I opened my mouth. One of my closest friends said “check your pride, dude,” and I brushed her off, but then my friends would start saying, “pride check” every time I made one of these comments. At first I would argue that I was kidding, but after what seemed to be like the 900th time, I began to honestly assess my sarcasm.
Now I am not saying that all sarcasm leads to defects in your inner most being, nor do I think sarcasm is bad; again, I personally really enjoy sarcasm. I think it can be a great source of humor, but for me — for me — it led to re-evaluating my heart behind it.
Why were a lot of my comments revolving around me either praising myself or belittling others? This led me to attempt to identify where all of this pride was coming from. I say “attempt” because at first it did not go as planned.
“It’s not pride, it’s just a fact,” my pride would tell me. “You’re not wrong; they’re wrong for thinking that your intentions are bad.”
My pride put up a lot of resistance to this inner assessment. I actually had to go around pride to get to the real cause. I had to go to the outcome of my pride to discern the real issue.
Anger was a result of my pride. I would stick my chest out and get loud and prove to you why I was right!! That’s when I asked myself one of the biggest questions I have had to face in my life…
“Why am I so angry?”
My first reaction was to respond with “because I am right, and they’re wrong,” but I couldn’t let pride answer for me anymore, and as I let the question marinate a little longer, it hit me. I wasn’t getting angry because I knew I was right; I was getting angry in fear that I wasn’t.
I let the idea of being wrong eat at me long enough to build a wall of pride. This wall of pride was built with stubbornness, ignorance, a façade of self-confidence, the belittlement of others, insecurity, and left me with no respect of other people’s opinions and a terrible leader.
I still remember the moment when I realized that I had a problem with pride in my heart. Even after all the “pride checks” I got from my friends, I started to change the way I talked — not because I thought it was a real issue but because I knew it wasn’t the best attribute for a leader in ministry. Then one night it hit me, I would either be a humble servant to God and build His kingdom, or I would be a servant to my pride and build mine.
About 6 months after the “pride check” became a common saying for me to hear, I was leading a ministry with my best friend at college. By this time, I thought that I had beaten pride… I thought since God was blessing this ministry that I was no longer full of pride. Then one night my best friend gave the sermon, a week after I gave what I thought was one of the better messages I had ever given, yet no one responded to a prompt at the end of my message.
I wasn’t even thinking of my pride. I was encouraging my best friend that he did a pretty good job. Then as I am sitting in the back of the room, and he closes with the question of taking your faith more seriously and asking if any in the audience wanted to make some significant, life-giving changes; multiple people immediately said “yes”!! You would think that I would be elated with joy…
Nope. I felt nothing but jealousy. I also convinced myself that it had nothing to do with his message — but everything to do with mine.
I was so caught up in my pride that I couldn’t celebrate my best friend giving a life-transforming message.
Looking back now on the time I was able to steward that ministry in college, I am filled with great memories of crazy cool blessings, but I can also see that my pride led to people getting hurt. My pride led me to speaking almost every week; my pride led me to hurting what could have been great leaders, because I wanted the spotlight. My pride took me from praising God to praising myself.
Pride will convince you that it’s all about you. Pride will rob you from celebrating in someone else’s victory. Pride will lead you to hurting others.
From someone who has had to make more apologies than I care to admit, I would recommend assessing whether or not your pride needs checked.