Compulsive comparisons - Hope 103.2

Compulsive comparisons

By David ReayWednesday 5 Jul 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Proverbs 16:18

18            Pride goes before destruction,
                    and a haughty spirit before a fall. (NRSV)

Pride is regarded as the underlying vice behind all other vices in the Christian perspective. Pride is having an excessive regard for yourself over against others. C. S. Lewis makes the point that pride is essentially competitive. We are not so much proud of our wealth but proud we are wealthier than others. We are not so much proud of our educational achievements but proud that we scored better results than others.

As such, pride has us engaging in compulsive comparisons, and these comparisons sound the death knell for any sort of contentment. We have to do better than others. We have to prove ourselves superior to others. We are the centre of the universe and all others and all else revolves around us. Pride causes us to resist dependence on God. We make our own decisions: life is about us not him. And needless to say this puts us in conflict with all the others who want to be king of the castle.

Of course we do use the word ‘pride’ in a more positive way. We can have legitimate pride in our achievements as long as it is not linked to some imagined superiority over others. I can take pride in my work meaning I can strive to make that work as good as possible. I can watch my child win an award and be proud for him or her. This sort of positive pride does not indulge in the damaging competitiveness that characterises sinful pride.

Wrongful pride is a sign of an ego asserting its independence from God. An inflated ego which is prone to burst; an exalted ego which is likely to fall from its self-constructed pedestal.

David Reay