Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Deadly Sins: Pride

Among the oldest and most deadly of sins (considered by some to be the sin from which all others spring) is destructive pride. It is the attitude of superiority that renders the proud quite above all influence from outside sources. I've had the unfortunate opportunity to watch some lives simply implode because pride kept them from ever thinking that self-evaluation was appropriate, thus submitting themselves to healthy wisdom. Even when confronted with pending catastrophe, the proud will maintain that all others have unreasonably collaborated on their doom. They will debate, and haggle and negotiate the terms of their situation; but never once will they entertain the notion of submitting to wisdom regarding their specific situation.

Having witnessed the proud follow their foolish path, and even having experienced it myself before, is what led me to once codify:

Pride is the path of destruction.
Pride leads to defiance.
Defiance leads to rebellion.
Rebellion leads to blindness and death.

The wide swath of debris left behind as stubborn hubris traverses through a household is a wonder of nature. Not all people deserve the relational, financial or emotional (or sometimes even physical) carnage wrought upon them; but sometimes one "sows wheat and reaps a harvest of it." Their life is a fitting lesson to the rest of us that must learn the key principles they have collided with. It's tragic, but instructive.

I dare not develop the pride that thinks myself above learning such lessons or susceptible to such folly. The correct response is not to gloat and think, "You may have fallen into such folly, but I would not." Instead the appropriate response to think, "But for God's grace, I too could welcome such calamity upon myself as well." The antidote to destructive pride is submission to the wise - the wise that offer wisdom in the Church, from the position of faith. If the fear of the Lord is indeed the beginning of wisdom, then the folly the leads to self-destruction must have started with something else - with no humble "fear of the Lord" rendering one teachable.

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