Monday, November 24, 2008

Pride... preventing Deification

In preparing lessons for Sunday School recently, I've been thinking a lot about pride.  As I was reading a bit, I turned to some C.S. Lewis, as I like to do, and came accross one of my favorite things he wrote, from Mere Christianity.

Pride is essentially competitive - is competitive by its very nature - while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone. That is why I say that Pride is essentially competitive in a way the other vices are not. The sexual impulse may drive two men into competition if they both want the same girl. But that is only by accident; they might just as likely have wanted two different girls. But a proud man will take your girl from you, not because he wants her, but just to prove to himself that he is a better man than you. Greed may drive men into competition if there is not enough to go round; but the proud man, even when he has got more than he can possibly want, will try to get still more just to assert his power. Nearly all those evils in the world which people put down to greed or selfishness are really far more the result of Pride.
I just think it's such an interesting point, that pride is such a different sin than others, and it's the competition in it that sets it apart.  Pride is all about being better than others, and that, as I see it, is as far from progressing towards exaltation as we can get.  I see Christ's prayer for us to be one with Him & the Father as an invitation for us to enter into the same kind of relationship with Him as He has with the Father.  That requires total unity, complete one-ness.  Pride is completely incompatible with that type of relationship.  This need for competition is keeping us from having that kind of relationship with Them, and with each other as well.

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