Pride says we need to have the best, be the best, or have what others have. Pride often means an attitude of self-entitlement (i.e. selfishness). With such attitudes anger is not far away when what we have is threatened, violated, ridiculed, stolen or disrespected. The way to conquer this struggle is to deal with the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” within and then the “sin nature” through prayer. This is done by dealing with self-pity and anger (and the pressure we put on ourselves) and not to minimize the wrongs done to us. We also need to refrain from judging people in order to love them to the end.
The reason we deal with the “sin nature” in prayer is that we don’t want to react in an ugly or sinful way towards any person. But if we refuse to minimize the wrongs people do to us and give up judgments, then we can stand up for ourselves in respectful ways.
Lay Down Your Pride
Everything we have is a gift from God. Even if we fought to keep the devil from stealing it and if we do own it, then we can freely give it up in the right situations with the right energy—if we are not selfish, not judgmental and don’t try to minimize the loss. We can’t demand it from God even if it is a “right” or a “normal” part of everyday human existence. Self-made people think everyone—including God— owes them what they hold dear; they refuse to give it up under any circumstances and will fight tooth and nail to keep it. Selfish and judgmental people find it hard to give up anything for other people.
But people who respect God also have pride. If we indulge in self-pity (rooted in selfishness and conceit), then we will not be kind and full of love for our enemies after they have violated us. When we deal healthily with our self-pity in prayer, then we will love our enemies more as Jesus does. We will also give up judgments and forgive more easily.
Jesus Is Our Model
But we can’t do this through our own strength, wisdom, and self-righteousness. We need to approach this task through humble prayer, take Jesus as our model, and use Scripture as our encouragement and support. When we handle the negative in a positive way, then this is healthy; gentleness and meekness will result, and my enemies will notice that something is different.
When we have difficulty in forgiving a coworker: for not respecting us; for not obeying a rule that in our eyes symbolizes respect for us when kept; or for making us go farther than our honor permits, then the anger can only be eliminated when we give up our rushing displays to protect our honor and give up our right to the respect we covet or desire from others. This is done by dismantling all “sin-conduit” structures in my personal “tree of knowledge of good and evil”.
Love Others Through Humility
In prayer, I have found confessing and repenting from holding onto entitlements in a rude, mean, and jerk-like manner is important. As important as dealing with the roots to these in “the tree of knowledge of good and evil” within me. It is so easy to think that people owe me. And to treat them with respect only so long as they serve a purpose in my life. If I am humble I will be able to love people. And not because of what their power, intellect, and creativity can do for me, but because they have worth, dignity, and a purpose of their own.
Pride: Going Deeper
For example, I have strongly felt entitled to a quietness. So that I could determine my own thoughts: to not let others determine the direction of my thoughts. And to not be pestered with annoying sounds. When I did not get the quiet I wanted, I’d go to a nasty and self-pitying place. A place inside of me and when pushed to it I’d act like a jerk. I struggled for years trying to wrestle this issue to the ground and find peace. It was a learning curve for me.
At first, temporary measures were learned to keep me from acting like a control freak or jerk. Then I slowly went deeper with Jesus. I went to places where I understood how pride, judgments, self-pity, anger, pressure, minimization, jealousy, selfishness, meanness, and an “eye for an eye” mentality were responsible for my lack of tolerance. Dismantling the “sin-conduit” structures in my life that contained these energized commitments was key to finding victory in this area.
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