Tag Archives: pride

That Lyin’ Pride: What Consequences?

peacocks by tina phillips

image courtesy of Tina Phillips / freedigitalphotos.net

After our fight the other day, I received a letter via e-mail from my mom. We had, of course, been fighting about my uncle watching pornography in the house, and in my passion against pornography, I had yelled at her and hurt her very badly. In the e-mail, she wrote that for ten years, she had put up with me yelling at her “for looking the wrong way.” She then noted that I hadn’t done that since I had completed Celebrate Recovery—until the other day. I explained to her that the other day, I was yelling passionately out of a righteous anger, versus the angry, tormented yelling I had done pre-Celebrate Recovery. She accepted that, but her statement reminded me that when I was addicted to porn and fantasy, I often would look at the situation and believe that I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself. Once again, I had believed the lying voice of pride about consequences.

The lies pride tells us are never louder than in the area of consequences. Here are three things that pride is constantly telling me about the consequences of my choices:

  • That consequences don’t exist. Everyone can have the tendency to believe the voice of pride that tells them that their behavior doesn’t have consequences. This is especially true when it is a sin of convenience. After all, what is a “little white lie” going to hurt, especially if you are making someone feel better about themselves? What will it hurt to take a few pens from work? But the truth is, all of our actions and behavior return a consequence—whether positive or negative. Galatians 6:9 says, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” You reap what you sow, and there are always consequences for whatever action we choose.
  • That if negative consequences exist, I don’t deserve them. For a long time, I felt that I deserved a great godly husband while entertaining lustful thoughts and a porn addiction. I just knew during that time that I didn’t deserve for God to withhold a loving relationship from me. I believed that my sinful thought life didn’t deserve consequences! But I was wrong. As I said before, the Bible notes that what we reap, we will also sow, and that justice comes for those who sin. And as sinners, we all deserve death—a price that Christ paid so that we could have eternal life and grace (Romans 6:23). And while we don’t receive the consequence of death that we deserve, there are always negative consequences for the sins we commit—and we do deserve those.
  • That consequences don’t affect anyone but me. This is definitely an addict’s viewpoint—“I am not hurting anyone but myself.” However, as my mother pointed out, my addiction to pornography and fantasy had me believing that people were objects, and I treated them as such. The effects of my addiction on my family and friends was just as devastating as it was to me. I said and did many terrible things that left deep scars in others’ lives. Pride might try to tell me that there are no consequences for my actions, but the Bible tells me that sin is so damaging, it can affect not only me but my family to the third and fourth generation (Number 14:18). As someone whose grandfather, father, and uncle struggled with sexual sin, I can see that truth very plainly in my own life.

As I recently shared with someone, every choice you have made has led you to where you are today. So as you make choices today, keep in mind that your choices have consequences, and that those consequences may affect others. Don’t let that lying pride convince you otherwise!

What are some other things pride has told you about the consequences of your actions?

That Lyin’ Pride: Me Me Me

peacocks by tina phillips

image courtesy of Tina Phillips / freedigitalphotos.net

It’s been a hard summer. I’ve experienced some hurt at the hands of others, and recently, one of those friends reached out to me to get together before she moves away. I had reached out to her to meet and she had said she would like that and had to “check her schedule” and get back to me. However, she never got back to me. Weeks went by, and she sent me some other communications, but nothing about getting together. I was really hurt but had felt as if I had been the one who had given relentlessly in the relationship, so I refused to remind her about my invitation to get together. Then a few days ago, she let me know she wanted to get together before she moved. I looked at my phone when I got the message, and promptly typed, “I would like that. Let me check my schedule and get back to you.” I then promptly waited 24 hours before attempting to set up a time to meet with her. As I reflect on my actions, I realize that instead of being loving, I was listening to the voice of pride.

One of the loudest thing pride says to us is that “everything is all about me.” It is easy to see pride’s “me me me” attitude when we are simply making choices that revolve around us.  However, when we are hurting, that is when pride makes its biggest moves. It begins to tell us that our feelings are the most important. We have all been there—in that place where we want others to feel what we are feeling, to experience the hurt that they have doled out to us. That’s what I wanted to happen in my situation with my friend. I wanted to prove a point; I wanted her to realize that I was doing to her what she did to me. I wanted her to understand my pain. Instead of focusing on restoration, I was focused on justice. And while justice is one of God’s traits, He tells us that vengeance belongs to Him (Romans 12:9). Pride, though, tells me that I should be the one who avenges my feelings and tries to make the other person pay.

So how can I fight the prideful attitude of me me me? James 4:6 says, “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” It is difficult for me to give grace when I am hurting because I’m so focused on my own feelings. But I think one of the things that I tend to forget is that grace is the counter action to pride. I know the opposite of pride is humility, but how can I practice humility? This Bible verses says that God gives us grace when we are humble…so I think we have to practice humility by giving more grace as God gives to us. The right thing, the graceful thing for me to do with my friend would have been to answer her other texts and love her as I’ve always loved her. Even though my pride says that I’ve given far more than I’ve received in this relationship, grace tells me to depend on the Lord for strength to give even more. When pride says to wait for her to respond, grace tells me to seek her out continually, just as the Lord continues to seek me out—because as I continue to do these things, I becomes less like my flesh and more like Christ.

I’m not saying this is easy—as you can see, I still struggle with the right way to handle relationships and the best ways to fight pride in my life. But one thing I do know is that I want to receive more grace from God—and in order to receive grace, I must give grace. And if it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), I want to give more grace and less pride.

How can you give more grace and, in turn, fight pride in your life?

That Lyin’ Pride: Did I Do That?

peacocks by tina phillips

image courtesy of Tina Phillips / freedigitalphotos.net

I saw a friend last night whose son was recently arrested in a neighboring state (where he lived) for driving while under the influence of heroin. The son went to rehab—for the second time this year—and charges are pending for him in that state. Last night, the son was with my friend as we mutually did a service project together. I struck up a conversation with the son, asking him how he was doing and how his wife and three young girls were handling life. He was upbeat, noting that they were moving into the area from the neighboring state. Some things he said included, “Man, they are trying to put me in jail in that state! I had to get out of there!” “My job was just too stressful. I need to do something less stressful.” “I was on the road too much. I just need to drive less and work less hours.” I nodded and smiled, but inside, my stomach turned. In that short conversation, I wondered if I was talking to someone who was truly ready for a full recovery. My heart grieved a bit, since as a former addict, I remembered being there myself many times facing my biggest enemy: pride.

Los Angeles Lakers player Jeremy Lin recently said that the biggest sin he struggled with was pride. I agree with Lin’s assessment, but not for the same reasons that he likely said it. I agree with him because pride is actually the basis for every sin that we commit. And in that case, everyone’s biggest sin is pride, because every sin is a direct result of our belief that we know better than God—the very definition of pride. I wanted to write this series on pride because pride is so prevalent in our lives–especially mine. So let’s talk about the subtle ways pride whispers into our ears and causes us to sin.

One of the loudest things pride says to us is, “It ain’t my fault.” (Did I do that?) This lie is especially a problem for addicts. We tend to blame everyone else—our family, our job, stress, our past, our desires—we will do anything possible to not take the blame for our issues. Sometimes we blame others, sometimes we even blame God (“He never should have given me these desires!”, says the porn addict). But the key to silencing this prideful voice is personal responsibility. We make our own choices, and we need to admit our mistakes. The Bible says that if we do, God will forgive us and cleanse us from our sins (1 John 1:9). Taking responsibility for your actions is one of the best lessons you can learn, as a child AND as an adult. When you make a mistake, you should own up to it, not blame others or your circumstances. My friend’s son spoke nothing of his own misdeeds—he did not own up his mistake of choosing illegal drugs. Instead, he blamed “the system” for what it wanted to do to him and his job for being too stressful and too mobile.

However, when we are ready to be healthy, when we are ready to move forward in life, it’s no longer about blame or making static, circumstantial changes—it’s about accepting responsibility so that real change can take place inside you. You see it in the eyes of every addict who has moved beyond blame and into accountability. They begin to make better choices about things that really matter. They are no longer afraid to admit their mistakes—because humility has assured them that to err is human. If the first step is admitting that you have a problem, then silencing this prideful voice is where most people begin in recovery.

Pride is sneaky, and it shows up in every area of our lives. That’s why we have to be aware of its many voices, dialects, and sounds. As we continue to break down our pride, both in this series and in our lives, may God make us more discerning about how to increase our humility and become more like Him!

What are some other ways pride says, “It ain’t my fault?”