~ Matters of the Heart ~
Proverbs 16:18 (NASB) “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling (fall).”
Pride means: Strong’s 1342/1346: arrogance, pomp, proud, swelling
Destruction means: Strong’s from 7665/7667: ruin, affliction, breach, breaking, vexation Destruction: the process of destroying, the condition of having been destroyed.
Haughty means: Strong’s 1361: elation, arrogance: excellency, loftiness
Fall means: Strong’s 3782/3783: properly, a tottering, i.e. ruin–fall.
Stumble: to miss one’s step in walking or running; to trip and almost fall. A moral lapse or error.
While in Taiwan in February this year with a mission team, our Mentor Ravi Kandal asked us each to teach on a negative emotion: he asked me to teach on pride. We tend to think pride only comes in the form of arrogance or haughtiness, but it also comes in the form of inferiority or when you feel inadequate. Pride in either form can cause you to emotionally or spiritually be destroyed or stumble. In either case we are not walking in God’s best for ourselves.
We can emotionally and spiritually feel this from time to time but we are not called to stay there. Examining our attitude towards ourselves and towards others will give us the knowledge to repent and humble ourselves, or we can believe in ourselves and rebuild the character of God in us. Either way we need to take action sooner than later to heal the areas in our behavior, emotions, memories, and spirituality. Pride is ugly in either form, and it can truly hurt you and others if you allow it to go unnoticed.
For years I felt inadequate, not good enough. From this place, the door was opened for me to be controlled and told what to do by others. I couldn’t see myself rightly because of wounds I just didn’t know how to heal. I would get some relief from time to time, but eventually I would go back to my place of comfort: the thing I knew best and told either in words or actions “I’m not good enough.”
It started when I was very young, and unknowingly my parents, who were raised in the great depression, didn’t have the tools to tell us anything different than what they knew. Both my parents came from large families and both families had farms. This meant the children had to work the farm to help bring money into the home. My Dad and Mom both quit school in 8th grade to help their families.
I completely understand from their positions they loved us the best they could. Love was not something shown back then, it wasn’t spoke of and little was given in affection…it was the GREAT DEPRESSION. So I don’t look at my parents in a negative way, I see that they loved me better than they were loved, and later in life I was able to help them learn how to express love through words and actions.
The thought was that as a young woman I was to work (which I started at age 15, but said I was 16 to get the job), graduate from High School, then get married and have kids, etcetera. They never thought about or even encouraged college (not that I would have gone). My greatest attention was graduating High School and going to work. So, I grew up on the side of pride with feelings of being inadequate. I worked in factories most of my young adult life, learned painting for a year out of High School, and in my later young adult life I bartended. In none of these jobs did I feel less than, because I gave my all and that was fulfilling to me.
I grew up having great work ethics, but also wanting to please people, so giving came easy and working hard was gratifying. This was all self-defeating and unbalanced.
The Two Forms of Pride
I’m going to share a little about both sides of pride. I hope you can look within yourself and see which stands out the most. I do think we all walk in a little of one or the other, but we will walk stronger in one and that’s what we want to heal.
Pride of selfishness can bring destruction. When we value ourselves over others, or only want to meet our needs and desires, we become self-seeking, self-fulfilling, self-gratifying, and self-centered. In all these things “self” is in first place always. When we walk in pride of “self”, it causes us to not grow or mature spiritually or emotionally. We become unfruitful in our lives.
Scripture is all about relationship: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; love your neighbor as yourself; serve, honor, and encourage others; and the list goes on.
God gave 2 commandments:
- Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength
- Love your neighbor as yourself
Selfish ambitions can cause you to compromise your beliefs and your standards. Pride in the form of “self” is of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. We are called to love God and love others.
The other form of pride is called “inferiority”. It’s when you compare yourself to others, or when you measure your value by your appearance or performance. When we continually feel inadequate, we will be bent towards thinking little of ourselves or our abilities. This happens when we are under constant disapproval by negative words being spoke over us. We can say it to ourselves, or by what other’s actions are towards us.
For example, you may seek an unbalanced approval from someone, such as your parents. Perhaps you were always told how wonderful you are, or how superior. When you begin to see your weaknesses, you may question what you have believed and were told. You may start to think you are not being truthful to others or yourself. Perhaps you were continually controlled or criticized, either by words spoken over you or you believed the actions of others towards you. You begin to believe you are not good enough, or that you can’t do anything right.
More of My Journey
When I was 41 years old I started our painting business, Mary’s Painting. I had no business sense, but I knew how to paint. My ability to help customers feel comfortable and trust me worked to my advantage. It started out as just a part-time job, but quickly turned into a full time job, and I needed Robert to help, so he quit his business and worked with me.
In all the years after the business was started, my parents never once thought I had anything to do with the success of it. They believed Robert made it all happen, and I just worked in the business. The truth is, we both made it happen. My parents did not believe I was qualified to start a business, even if my name was on the truck and trailer. It wasn’t until my Mom passed away and a few years before my Dad passed, that my Dad actually saw my abilities to make things happen, to be responsible in difficult situations, and handle decisions, knowing I had his best interest at heart.
He said many times in his last few years, “If you want something done, get Mary, she can really get things done!” I cannot tell you how much that blessed me. He blessed me in his old age and redeemed the time from the past. He saw me as a woman who worked hard, put others’ needs before mine, and had great accomplishments; my heart overflowed with joy! In all the years before and after my parent’s death, I have sought to bring healing to my soul, knowing that when my soul is healed, my spirit can grow and mature. And isn’t that what God has called us to do?
1 Corinthians 14:20 “Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.”
James 4:6 “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says; ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”
Let us humble ourselves and take on maturity. Let us not think too highly of ourselves, or too lowly of ourselves: both are forms of pride. One will destroy you, and the other will cause you to stumble. Let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Grace and peace,
*Some of the information in this post is taken from Vicki Kraft’s notes “Facing Your Feelings”.