Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pride: a man's Kryptonite!

One of the things that causes us the most grief is one's overwhelming and distorted sense of pride. Pride is one of the most toxic things that a person can keep and, unless it is reversed, is a sure cause of spiritual death.

I'm not talking about being glad for another person's accomplishments or being happy for someone for their blessings. I'm not even referring to being "proud" of your own record which may reflect that you've done your best. For those deeds, accolades and applause are due you in every respect.

I'm speaking of the sense of entitlement that places you above everyone and everything in your worldview. The Pride that causes one to be self-centered, or malicious, or even malevolent in the directing extreme attention to themselves. The Pride that causes one to force people to recognize them beyond whatever another may have accomplished no matter how much greater their accomplishments are in relation to yours. The Pride that insists that YOU are all that matters and that announces to the world that "its all about me now."

Pride is a disease that has no cure available from the outside. I have dubbed it the e coli of personality disorders. It truly does eat away at your heart slowly, surely, completely as well as makes you blind to all that is outside of the blinders that you've placed upon your head.

Pride is the evil that poisons the relationship well...that doesn't allow there to ever be an "us;" only a "me" that must be satisfied.

With Pride, there is no such thing as humility unless it is defined as "look at what 'I' did for you and this is how you repay me?" With Pride, you find yourself as Khan in Star Trek that says that you would rather "rule in Hell than serve in Heaven." With this sense of Pride, your life partner is only a convenient appendage who is there to serve at your whim.

Pride is narcissism run amok!! The Old Spice commercials say it all: "Look at me; look at your man; now look at me." Narcissism via Pride makes you go into debt and make you a slave to the people who own your promissory note but you can't see that because you have puffed yourself up through the external trappings that accumulating "things" serving as a costume to your foolishness.

Prideful people are the ones who demand that "you cannot judge me!" Isn't it cute that the ones saying this are the ones who KNOW they're guilty of being too proud in a negative way but just don't want to face the jury?

With some Men, it is the sense that you do not owe anyone a view of your inner self, not even yourself. It is your Pride that doesn't allow you to go to the Doctor to check up on things that may be killing you such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, or that dreaded exam to check for an enlarged prostate.

With some Men, it is the condition that prohibits you from ever saying that we are wrong; only misinformed and made a decision based on this misinformation. With Men, it is the inability to "lose" gracefully even if it means that you "win" in the end. Being competitive beings, we just say "it is what it is."

Well, why does it have to be that way?

Who has given us this horribly bad advice that we are to be stoic with our emotions to the point that we starve the women in our lives of the nurturing that they must have? Why can't we acknowledge their position in our world that has PROVED that we can't do without them?

Sadly, Men suffer from this in a unique and particularly damaging way. Women do as well but at least women will listen to someone who is telling them what their sense of Pride is doing to them and will take the time to correct it.

Most Men cannot and will not do this and I submit that it is strictly due to extravagant self pride.

What should/can we do about it?
  • First, admit that you are not all that! There is enough evidence to prove that point if you will only listen.
  • Second, repent of this by confessing your arrogance to those to whom you have visited this plague! Let them know that you were "not yourself" or at least not who you should be at the time. When you apologize, be sure to beg for forgiveness!
  • Third, live a life of atonement. Humble yourself before all and elevate them above you. This is the hardest part because it asks you to do something contrary to your nature. But, that's the idea! You can't keep living this way because to do so sentences you to a life of solitary confinement bereft of human interaction because you've driven everyone away.
Fortunately, the cure to this disease is within one's own grasp. Simply look in a mirror and ask how you would feel if you were treated this way or contrast yourself with someone who is MORE proud than you are and you will see yourself from the outside in in a new and revealing way.

A life made bankrupt through Pride creates future trapdoors with only bottomless pits beneath them. As Faust found out, you can have the world but at the cost of your soul.

Eternity is a very long time to be alone...and the wost part of a prison sentence is solitary confinement, yes?

is it truly worth it?

A Cork in the Ocean

I am a huge fan of astronomy...the vast and enormous universe is a place that is so wondrous that it can actually stupefy your imagination. We are all familiar with terms like light years, and supernovae, and black holes. These are not only terms that dwarf our sensibilities when it comes to just how far away some things are but just how dangerous it can be to be out there with them.

Then, as a Christian, I think in terms of just how unique our planet Earth truly is. How it can only accommodate our species. How it can be uninhabitable if there was no moon, or we were say, 1,000,000 miles closer or farther away from our son, or if the amount of water on our planet was different. If those things did not exist, neither would we.

We walk out and feel secure on our piece of earth, our sidewalks, or our highways but in reality, all of this place called home, is like a cork in a bottle in a very angry ocean.

We are hurtling through space at millions of miles an hour; we rotate on our axis at 1,000 miles an hour; we have an electromagnetic field which keeps the harmful rays of the sun from baking us like a roast.

We bob along in this galactic lake along with billions of stars with some of those stars possible having planets, and our galaxy is in a much larger ocean with billions of galaxies containing trillions and trillions of stars.

We can always conjecture whether we are alone in this vastness, or if there are other forms of life. We can always theorize what caused all of this to happen in the first place or if there is a divine hand in it all. We can all doubt and deny or otherwise.

But, the truth of the matter is that we are living in a fragile environment. We pollute, we alter, we cause mutations. We have dominion per our Bible but we are also supposed to be stewards of this place as well.

One can look at how we get along or don't and we can examine the causes of discord in our lives on this bobbing cork and feel important. But, in the universal scheme of things, we are nowhere near as important as we would like.

Please keep your lives and interactions in this perspective. It may seem like a very large world to our finite lives and it can take one of our entire finite lives to see it all but do not feel so important that you lose sight of just how precious this world of ours truly is.
  • My faith tells me that in spite of all of this enormity, I was created by someone who cared enough to pull me from the staggering probabilities of life that He could have made that day but it was me that He did.
  • My faith tells me that He created this place just for us.
  • My faith tells me that He wanted to show His love for us but teaching us universal constants to live by.
  • My faith tells me that when we decided that we didn't need Him anymore, He loved us anyway and gave us a way to come Home to Him.
My faith tells me that I have a lot to be thankful for in light of this...and I'm going to go and show my gratitude by being obedient today.

Enjoy your Sunday, my friends who believe as I do!