“Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.”
The three most dangerous words in the English language are “I already know.” I have a teenage son who learned those words early, probably from his mother (or me, but who’s keeping track, right?). He loves to tell me how well he can fix, do, complete, and perform any task known to man. I try to be patient with him, because I remember that I was the same way at that age, and because I love him dearly. But to be totally honest, it’s hard!
A common reason why people find themselves in the midst of failure is their pride. There is nothing wrong with being a confident person. In fact, a truly confident person will be smart enough to recognize that he doesn’t know it all, can’t do it all, and needs the help of God and other people to be successful. Being teachable and admitting our mistakes is not a sign of weakness but of true strength. Pride leads to failure in the following ways:
1. Hard to live with. No one likes a know-it-all. I don’t even think that type of person likes himself! The greater the pride, the harder it is for others to relate to him. Pride damages relationships with others like this:
· It makes you act superior, alienating others.
· It makes you incapable of admitting wrongs, frustrating others.
· It makes you a person who does not listen well, distancing others.
Pride is rooted in a distorted view of self. Some people with a low self-image try to overcompensate by acting in prideful ways. This only serves to distance them from others, especially from loved ones. One of the things I counsel parents to do is admit to their kids when they have made a mistake. Contrary to popular belief, that admission strengthens your bond; it does not make you weaker. The apostle Paul had it right when he wrote in Romans 12:16,
“Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy
the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!”
2. Harder to be blessed. One of the fastest ways of stopping your life’s momentum is to believe your own press clippings. The temptation to take some of God’s glory for yourself, even if it is disguised in pious statements, will carry grave consequences. God will not share His glory with us. If you sense that momentum has slowed down or stopped in your life, one of the first questions I would ask is the following: Is God getting all the glory? One of the texts that brings out this powerful truth is James 4:6.
“He gives us . . . more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the
Scriptures say, ‘God opposes the proud but favors the humble.’ ”
Sometimes I have heard people blame the devil for their lack of personal growth and success, when in fact it could be God who is slowing them down. Maybe it’s just me, but with all the opposition we can face these days, do we need to add God to that list? I think not.
3. Hardest to follow. You may be a leader. An effective leader admits he does not know everything. Followers want to feel that they are contributing to the overall well-being of the company/organization. A prideful attitude alienates followers and fosters discontent and turnover. Healthy leaders have the ability to recognize that they don’t know it all, and they surround themselves with people who can make up for those deficiencies.
Admitting your weakness makes your leadership stronger. “Never let them see you sweat” is a good slogan for a deodorant but not for a leader. A leader once said, “Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers” (Proverbs 11:14).
I’m a sports fanatic. I follow the Cowboys, the Yankees, and any soccer team that is not Argentina. One of the key questions professional athletes have to ask themselves is, “When should I retire?” Very seldom do you see a professional athlete realize by themselves that the time has come, without the help of being benched or cut from the team. The reason? Pride. It’s very hard to admit that you can’t do it anymore. There’s somebody younger, faster, and better than you. Pride clouds and distorts the true picture of yourself, which is why it’s important to surround yourselves with “no” men, not just “yes men.”
The Bible is clear when speaking about pride. It precedes nothing that is good, and it is a precursor to failure. Proverbs 16:18 says,
“Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.”
Today, listen to God speaking to you and telling you
· You have nothing to prove. Love Me instead.
· You cannot impress Me. Worship Me instead.
· You don’t know. Trust Me instead.