We all feel the need to think well of ourselves, but it is difficult to find the balance between self-respect and pride. The opposite of pride is humility, which is not seeing ourselves as less than others, but is realising that we are all equally worthy human beings created by God. So, we are not less important than others; but we are also not more important than others.
As babies, we think that life revolves around us. Then, we are taught that other people’s needs have to be taken into account. However, underneath it all, we still have that sneaking feeling that our needs really are more important than those of others, which is pride.
For many years, I did not realise that I had a problem with pride. I just thought that I was confident and competent; and, therefore, entitled to think well of myself. However, it also caused me to think less of people who did not live up to my standards. Since I was competent, I assumed that my opinion was more important than that of others - again a sinful, proud attitude.
As I developed a more intimate relationship with God, the Holy Spirit started opening my eyes to areas of pride in my life. He pointed out that I was quick to take offence when my hard work was not appreciated. If that did not happen, I became resentful and judgemental of others. Then a question arose in my spirit, “Who are you working for: for yourself or for Me?”
Often, when things did not go my way, I would wallow in self-pity. One day I realised (courtesy of the Holy Spirit) that expecting everything to go my way was massive pride. It was assuming that I was so important that my comfort and desires were more important than anyone else’s.
Then in a devotional book, I read that self-pity is a sin, because we are once again focussing on ourselves and what we want, rather than on God or on others. What a wake-up call that was!
God has repeatedly pointed out to me that what He values is my correct reaction to any situation. His focus is on my character and my faith. He wants me to submit every situation to Him and to react in a way that is glorifying to Him, even if I am humiliated or treated unfairly. So, I am learning to swallow my pride when it wants to respond in anger. The Holy Spirit reminds me that I do not have to prove my worth. I only need to prove that He is a reality in my life.
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