I don’t think of myself as a prideful person, to be honest. You might think it sounds prideful that I would even say that, and you might be right, but I would probably respond by explaining how I struggle with my fair share of other sins, sins equally as destructive and deep-rooted, equally as pervasive and consuming as pride.
But when it comes to pride, I don’t know.
It has just never struck me as a huge problem.
Then, the other day, a woman I respect deeply gave an example of pride that I had never heard before. She talked about how pride comes in many forms, and how one of those forms looks like this:
Managing other people’s opinions of you.
I had never thought of it that way before.
The more she talked, the more sense it made, and the more I started thinking how prone I am to this face of pride.
- I send a text message and get no response, so I start wondering if I said something mean or insensitive.
- I write an e-mail and hover over the “send” button, wondering how every nuance of language is going to be received
- I lay awake one night, fighting anxiety over a sin I committed years ago, one I’ve repented for, and been forgiven of.
- I find myself thinking often, “Did I offend him/her when I ________?”
I would rather call this insecurity that pride. It makes me feel better about myself, like I am a victim, rather than a perpetrator of a crime, but the more I think about it the more I realize what an incredible offense this is.
First, I am wasting time.
I can exert an incredible amount of energy (probably all of my energy if I wasn’t careful) managing other’s opinions of me, and the job would never be done. People would still be upset with me, they would still dislike me, they would still be offended by something I’ve done.
If I think of myself as a steward (I do) and my time on earth as a gift (I believe that, too) then wasting the time I’ve been gifted on earth is no different than squandering any other resource on pointless pursuits.
Second, I’m stealing opportunities.
An offense is almost always more about the receiver than it is about the giver. If my husband says something insensitive to me, for example, my internal response says more about me than it does about him.
It might tell me shallow, temporary information about him (like that he was in a bad mood, or that he isn’t a morning person) but if I’m willing to receive it, it gives me much more useful insight about myself.
Maybe I have a deep-rooted insecurity connected to his comment.
Maybe I have a growing resentment toward my husband in another area.
Maybe I have anxiety that is polluting the rest of my life.
Either way, the offense is my opportunity.
It’s my opportunity to deal with what is happening, to work through my insecurity, to untangle my resentment, to abandon my anxiety.
I’ll probably be the giver of many offenses in my life, many of them (I hope) unknowingly or accidentally. But if I am constantly taking responsibility for those offenses (the ones I may or may not have given) I’m stealing the opportunity for the offended person to come to healing, growth and resolve.
If this is a face of pride, I’m guilty. Are you? To reply click HERE.