PRIDE a Spiritual Cancer
In my book “Deathly Silence” I discuss the escalating problem of sin in our age. However, one sin in particular, may just be the root of many of our problems. That sin is “pride.” C.S. Lewis called Pride a “spiritual cancer.”
During June, every year, I take some time to reflect on the sin of pride. It’s quite easy to do so. Every year, beginning on June 1st we’re presented with a visual cacophony of graphic reminders. I’ve gotten so over this prideful overload that started calling them sin symbols and sin flags — much to the chagrin of those immersed in the PC, woke cancel culture of our day.
Every time I mention Pride Month in relation to sin, it’s not long before some triggered individual(s) chime in, insisting that this month isn’t at all about their sexual activities (sin), but rather about their identity — who they are, and even “who God created them to be.” With thirty years of research, dialog, and personal experience with this particular subject, I can say with unequivocal certainty that those statements are usually disingenuous at best. So much of this revolves around a spiritual disease I’ve termed “you can’t tell me what to do” syndrome — YCTMWTD for short. I know, even abbreviated, it’s a mouthful, especially for an acronym. However, the sin of pride makes it very difficult, even impossible for most to listen when another tells them their actions are sinful.
Yes, Pride is one of the seven deadly sins, but it's also a treatable disease.
It can be wonderful feeling when you can be proud of the achievements of someone you love. Spouses and parents know well this feeling of special satisfaction when they see their other half, or their children, succeed. At such moments, it seems as if our heart grows, and we are filled with bliss, joy, and love. However, like many good things, too much pride can lead us into trouble.
Think about this, What happens when the basis of your pride lies in competition instead of love, then pride can become one of the most destructive feelings we can have. A person who is proud in this sense constantly competes and is looking for ways to be better than others. She or he enjoys success only when it also means defeating someone else. Instead of trying to better themselves, such people only want to be better than others.
In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis describes such a position in the following way:
“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man … It’s the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.”
When attitudes like this take root in your heart, it becomes difficult to say “enough” and slow down. Instead of making sure that your salary is sufficient to cover your needs, you’ll compare yourself to other people. The problem is, you’ll always find someone who makes more money than you do. You won’t learn to acquire knowledge for its own sake either; you’ll do it for grades and diplomas. And, as follows from the same principle, instead of building good long-term relationships with people, you’ll measure your worth by the mere number of people you know and their prestige.
If you’re dominated by this form of pride, you’ll always be anxious, because you’ll always fear that someone else has more money, better connections, and more fashionable clothes. Such an attitude will take away your joy, your feeling of satisfaction, and your self-acceptance. It will poison you slowly. C.S. Lewis writes: “…Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense. In the end, it leads to hatred, hostility, and war.” Rather than love of God and others as Jesus calls the greatest commandments, love of self becomes the guiding force in a pride-filled life.
Pride even sets us up to be in competition with God. This is, I believe the root cause of the declining morality in the world today. In our pride, the modern world says that the writers of the Bible just didn’t understand our modern, enlightened world. This prideful attitude sets man as their own author of morality. They take God entirely out of the equation. What is left is a Christianity without Christ.
What are the symptoms of destructive pride?
The following behaviors suggest that you might be infected by the destructive form of pride:
Your ideas regarding morality of prime importance.
You think those who disagree with you are motivated by hate and bigotry.
You look eagerly for other people’s mistakes.
You talk about people behind their backs.
You whine and complain.
You live above your means.
You feel jealous.
You feel hostile towards others.
You have difficulty praising others.
You hold grudges.
You feel envy, and
How can you heal yourself of YCTMWTD?
As with any sinful tendency, it can be difficult to cure unhealthy pride completely in this life. However, if you recognize that you have symptoms of destructive pride, the following actions will help you heal. They are also excellent preventative measures.
Trust in the Lord and lean not on worldly wisdom and understanding.
Be grateful: Practicing gratitude has the power to change hearts. Instead of focusing on what you’re missing, look around and see how much you have to be grateful for. Think about all that you have and what you have accomplished so far. Remember moments of happiness and joy you may have experienced recently. Look for them and feel gratitude in your heart.
Compete with yourself and appreciate yourself: The only sensible competition is a competition against yourself. Work to be a better version of yourself. Appreciate your successes, even the little ones. Don’t compare yourself to others; we are all different. Something that presents a big effort for one person may be simple for another, and vice versa.
Appreciate other people and give compliments: Enjoy the successes of other people and appreciate them. Even if it’s hard for you, if you’re envious on the inside, force yourself to compliment other people and congratulate them on their success. Give them a compliment.
Accepting that God’s ideals are in place for your well-being.
Most importantly however, is learning to trust in God and to pray without ceasing.