In the previous post in this thread, The Two Faces of Pride & Humility, we saw how being prideful discourages us from doing God’s will and entices us to follow our own will, to walk in our own way, instead of the straight and narrow one. In a word, pride separates us from God and leads us to sin. Below is one common way pride leads us into sin.
1. Pride leads us to persecute others. The root belief behind pride is that some people are better than others. This alone leads us to sin of “persecuting” our brethren as recorded with emphasis added in Jacob 2:13:
“…and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and [ye] persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.”
So, accepting the false belief that we can be better than others puts us in a competition with everyone. We try to beat the competition by putting them down, criticizing anything about them we can find to criticize, either to their faces or behind their backs. We try to prove our worth to others, ourselves, and/or our parents by judging others to be less-than ourselves for any reason we can find: money, good looks, fashion, grades, income, vacations, whatever! When you think about it, it’s actually quite pathetic — we run around like school children trying to out-do each other to prove our worth.
And lest we think this couldn’t happen in our ward…
“For they saw and beheld with great sorrow that the people of the church began to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and to set their hearts upon riches and upon the vain things of the world, that they began to be scornful, one towards another, and they began to persecute those that did not believe according to their own will and pleasure.” (Alma 13:8)
Here’s what President Benson had to say about it in his landmark talk, “Beware of Pride”, notice all the drama that is introduced into our relationships when we succumb to the prideful belief that some are greater-than others:
“[Pride] is manifest in so many ways, such as faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous.”
Next time, we’ll look at how pride tempts us to seek for power, gain, and glory as we try to prove we are better than others, and this pursuit has devastating effects on society.