I have been pondering pride over the past few weeks. So much to think about and repent of… It seems that nearly everything I have studied recently, from Book of Mormon assignments to Restoration studies to Conference prep has mentioned pride. Recent world events seem to be reminding many of the dangers of pride… broken personal relationships, plague, earthquakes, economic uncertainty. So much to ponder.
The conditions often seem to appear to be getting worse, not better. Instead of humbling selves and changing behaviors, we all seem to be focusing on “being right.” I am noticing that we are all becoming caught up in the behavior and attitudes of a competitive world – a world where forcing, criticizing, controlling, and commanding are often promoted as the best way to win friends and influence people… well at the very least, gain influence. It is too easy to blame others for our problems and we try hard to punish, belittle and intimidate others into changing. Much to repent of…
My study has led me to much self examination and contemplation. I can see how many of us, including myself, are caught in “self-righteous” behavior with “accusing hearts.” Problem arise when we fail to truly live gospel principles. We may not be able to control the events in the world around us not the people were associate with, but we can focus on the intents of our own hearts. Our problems are primarily spiritual and God is clearly trying to get our attention.
Way back when… when I was really first conscious of a living prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson gave several talks addressing the dangers of pride.
He taught, “Pride does not look up to God and care about what is right. It looks sideways to man and argues who is right. Pride is manifest in the spirit of contention.” (Benson Apr 1986 Cleansing the Inner Vessel).
To be proud is to be focused on being right. To be humble is to yield to the right to be right.
To be proud is to blame others. To be humble is to accept personal responsibility and to see where you need to make corrections… then doing it.
To be proud is to focus on the failures of others. To be proud is to be independent and so self-sufficient that they don’t need others. To be humble is to develop an overwhelming sense of our own need help and a Savior. To be humble to to recognize that we do need others.
To be proud is to find it difficult to share one’s spiritual needs with others. To be humble is to be open and transparent with others as directed by the Spirit.
To be proud is to hide… to cover up our sins so that no one ever finds out. To be humble is to not care if others know we have made mistakes. To be humble is to be willing to be exposed because there is nothing to lose. You can’t hide sin from God.
To be proud is to be critical and firing up a spirit of fault-finding – looking at the faults of others with a microscope while looking at the faults within ourselves with a telescope. To be humble is to be compassionate – to be forgiving because we know what it means to be forgiven through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
To be proud is to be unapproachable and defensive when corrected. To be humble is to take correction with an open heart.
To be proud is to have a hard time saying, “I made a mistake. Please forgive me.” To be humble is to quickly admit mistakes and to seek forgiveness.
To be proud is wait for others to take the first step in interpersonal conflict and misunderstandings. To be humble is to take initiative to patch up misunderstandings… to begin the process of healing.
To be proud is to be self-righteous, to look down on others. To be humble is to esteem or respect others as much as ourselves.
To be proud is to compare self to others to feel honor. To be humble is to compare self to the holiness of God and to feel a need for His mercy.
To be proud is to be concerned with being respected and more concerned about what people think, working to protect one’s own image and reputation. To be humble is to be concerned with being real, to be concerned with what God thinks.
As President Benson stated: “The proud make every man their adversary by pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other worldly measuring device against others.” (Ensign, May 1989, p. 4.)
To be proud is to demand and claim rights. To be humble is to yield rights and to develop a meek spirit, a contrite heart.
“Pride is characterized by “What do I want out of life?” rather than by “What would God have me do with my life?” It is self-will as opposed to God’s will. It is the fear of man over the fear of God,” President Ezra Taft Benson taught.
“Humility responds to God’s will—to the fear of His judgments and the needs of those around us. To the proud, the applause of the world rings in their ears; to the humble, the applause of heaven warms their hearts.
Someone has said, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.” Of one brother, the Lord said, “I, the Lord, am not well pleased with him, for he seeketh to excel, and he is not sufficiently meek before me.” (D&C 58:41.) (Benson Apr 1986 Cleansing the Inner Vessel).
To be proud is to be self-protective of time, rights, and reputation. to be humble is self denying in the Lord’s way, yielding our will to His will.
To be proud is to desire to be served. To be humble is to be motivated to serve.
To be proud is to desire success. To be humble is to desire to be faithful and to help other be and feel successful. To be proud is to be wounded when others succeed. To be humble is to be eager to give others credit, rejoicing when others are lifted up.
To be proud is to desire self- advancement. To be humble is to desire to promote others. To be proud is to think people should feel lucky to know them – to focus on what they can do for God. To be humble is to know that we don’t “deserve” a place, knowing that all he have to offer is our hearts and the power of the Savior flowing through our lives to brighten the lives of others.
To be proud is to have a drive to be recognized and appreciated. To be humble is to recognize our standing with God and to “stand all amazed at the LOVE Jesus offers… rescue a soul so rebellious and proud…”
To be proud is to be concerned about the consequences of sin. To be humble is to be grieve over the cause of sin.
To be proud is to be sorry you were caught. To be humble is to genuinely repentant of sin.
To be proud is to feel confident in how much we know. To be humble is to know how much more there is to learn.
To be proud is self-conscience. To be humble is to be self-aware but not concerned with self at all.
To be proud is to keep people at arms’ length. To be humble is to be willing to take risks getting to know others and loving intimately.
To be proud is to be blind to the true condition of the heart. To be humble is to walk in light. To be humble is to realize a continual need of a repentant heart… a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
I admit I wasn’t the best parent, but I know I did the best I could with what I had and what I knew. Many of my weakness have been pointed out to me. It isn’t very pleasant. But I am learning that dealing with the challenges in families and in life is what I have always needed to grow in character and to become more Christlike. I am not the same parent as I was when I started. I am not the same spouse. I have grown. Family life has given me the opportunity to learn to truly pray, to fast with intent, to search my heart and REPENT!
Elder Neal A. Maxwell has stated: “The pressures of life in a family will mean that we shall be known as we are, that our frailties will be exposed and, hopefully, we shall then work on them. … It is an encounter with raw selfishness, with the need for civility and taking turns, of being hurt and yet forgiving, of being at the mercy of others’ moods and yet understanding, in part, why we sometimes inflict pain on each other. … The home gives us a great chance to align our public and private behavior, to reduce the hypocrisy in our lives, to be more congruent with Christ.” (Ensign, Feb. 1972, p. 7.)
Yup. That describes it perfectly.
So why bring this all up… recent events have caused me to pause and realize that God is inviting us all to slow down, bend our knees, humble our hearts and “Hear Him.”
I am grateful for the lessons I learn from the Spirit.
I am grateful for the ponderings of others that give me cause to ponder for myself and to seek revelation for myself.
I am grateful I had the time today to finally put some of my thoughts on “paper.”
Today I came across the thought that meekness is power controlled. I am grateful for that thought to ponder.
I am grateful for sunny weather.
I am grateful for my children. I used to believe I was the mom for them… now I believe they were the children for me to learn what I need to learn on this earth.
I am grateful for my friends. I miss having conversations with many of them. However, social distancing has reminded me of who really is a friend and who is just a good acquaintance.
I am grateful for my parents. They have good hearts that desire the best tings in this world and the next world for their children.
I am grateful for my office space. It is a great place to work and ponder.