HOW DOES OUR PRIDE KILL US
THE HIDDEN DANGERS OF PRIDE THAT LINGER IN US AND DESTROY OUR
Crush Our Pride
If we desire Eternal Life our pride must be crushed.
“Those who are crushed in spirit [in their pride] he saves” (Psalm 34:18).
We must stop thinking of ourselves as wonderful good people (not that we don’t do some “good” things), but we must come to truly know how greatly sinful we really are. Because if we live proud lives…even with slight pride, even though God’s mercy is great, we will still die (go to Hell) from our horrid blindness to our sinfulness and reject God’s saving forgiving mercy for our very own self-love.
“Whether ordinary or more advanced Christians, that scarcely one is to be found who works simply for God without looking for some consolation or comfort or other advantage in his work.”
–St. John Vianney
When we suffer from pride, we simply can’t love God, not with true love, since we are so busy loving ourselves.
Our self-love (pride) is the root of all of our sinful choices, because when we sin against God we do it for our benefit (self-love), as we think the sin is going to satisfy or benefit us in some way, instead of refraining from evil to love God.
If we really loved God, we would be horrified to sin against Him. But frankly, most of us aren’t even thinking our sins hurt God. We might think our sins harm our lives or even other’s lives, but rarely do we really think they caused His Crucifixion and daily wound His Sacred Heart of Love in Heaven by our rejection of His love for sin.
The devil has us unknowingly loving ourselves and not God in countless ways. Pride is so deadly that it strips away true faith and blinds us to the Way. It causes us to become angry and complain when things don’t go the way we desire. It hardens our hearts and removes our true love for one another. Pride is unmistakably deadly.
When we have much of it, it drives all of our thoughts, words and actions. As St. Justin Martyr says, “[from your pride] you are a people hard-hearted and without understanding, both blind and lame, children in whom is no [true] faith, as He Himself says, honouring Him only with your lips, far from Him in your hearts, teaching doctrines that are your own and not His.”
Oh, our pride has us doing horrible things thinking we have faith, love and are teaching the truth, but we are really living a lie. Pride is the worst of hidden cancers as it eats away at our souls and then we die…many still living in a false peace, not even knowing we were very sick.
“Every evil is founded in self-love”
–God the Father to St. Catherine of Sienna
Sadly, those who suffer the greatest from pride–unless one is constantly looking for their prideful ways and is working diligently to remove their pride–tend to be those who are greatly blessed in any way by God. This is true. Those who are most blessed especially those with faith, talents, knowledge and/or authority, etc. are tragically the ones with the greatest pride. We constantly see this in our bragging, putting down others for their faults, or our desire to be correct or in charge. But this evil extends much deeper into our souls far beyond bragging or thinking highly of ones self because of any blessing from God. This pride goes deep into all of our actions as we reject God’s saving love over and over again from our lack of humility (not wanting to see our sinfulness).
Blessings Prove God’s Love
We can’t hear God speaking to us properly and grow in faith correctly, much of the time, since the devil tricks the into thinking a blessing from God is somehow proof of our great faith, but instead that isn’t proof of our faith…it is proof of God’s great love for us. Sure someone of great faith can have magnificent blessings from God but God lets the “sun rise on the bad and the good” (Matthew 5:45). God gives certain gift to some, so they can serve Him, to others so they can experience His love, not because of their great faith but because of His plans for their life.He wants us all to see His love so we can love Him in return and use those blessing for the salvation of souls. God has different plans for all of our lives and gives us different skills to fulfill His will. But sadly, many have allowed the devil to convince us we are some kind of special loved privileged holy people because God blesses us…but that is simply a thought coming from our pride alone. God loves and blesses all of His children just differently.
“I’m an elder in the church,” someone will boast. “I run prayer groups, have had healings, and you (someone so much less than I) think you know the Way better than I do and can teach me something!” Oh, our pride…that horrible pride keeps us terribly blind to learning the truth as we shut out God talking to us through the least of His children. We think we are the “knowledgeable” holy ones and from our experience and blessings, nobody can “teach” us anything. We view God’s blessings as being given or done through us as proof of our holiness. But that just isn’t so.
Lets look at the saints…how old was St. Therese of Lisieux– “the greatest saint of modern times” (Pope Saint Pius X )? Ah, she was just 24 when she died…not an elder. Was she a mystic with special gifts from God? No. Did God do great miracles through her? No. Was she a theologian and greatly educated in the faith? No. Did she run fantastic programs or do incredible outwardly visible works for God? No. Well, then, we really need to stop and take a look into what we think a truly faithful person is, because the things we pride ourselves on, believing that is what makes us faithful, simply doesn’t prove faith at all. Yes, a truly faithful person can have any number of those blessings, but that most certainly isn’t a requirement to truly live the faith and wonderfully love God. Those aren’t a sign of humility or true love.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Sadly, those who need to be humble the most, to be the proper example of the Way and to have wisdom to know how to use our talents and knowledge correctly, horribly we–the teachers and leaders, the guides of others–in general, we are the ones lacking humility the greatest and are in great darkness.
“Certainly Our Saviour clearly shows, and all Christians in simplicity understand, that in this just judgment…[the unfaithful shall be condemned] because those have had many favours [blessings, gifts and love from God] and yet no love [no true love for God], much assistance [help from God] and no repentance [for their sins]” (St. Francis de Sales).
When God sends the child, the homeless man or the mommy to come and enlighten us to the truth…sadly, from our pride, we won’t ear a thing and stay dead in sin. God is constantly coming to us, in ways we won’t expect (because only the humble will be able to hear), but from our pride we aren’t hearing. And because pride is so unknown, those suffering the most won’t know the extent of their illness, if they can recognize anything at all, and tragically continue life in the dark.
For those God has called to be leaders, if we are suffering from such blinding pride, we are blind guides leading the blind. This is why I believe there is such a great loss of life…so many leaders tragically can’t see, and we are following them. “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?” (Luke 6:39). Horribly, as the Word says, those of us, who are the leaders, need to be even more careful than others and search for our prideful ways even more greatly, as the devil wants the leaders and toils more diligently to catch them so he can bring down our followers too. Tragically, because pride is mostly unknown, the greatly prideful tend to be completely unaware they are leading so many astray. As a result we, the greatly prideful, only allow our pride to grow and grow, and become more and more blind to the Truth. The devil is fantastically successfully at blinding us through our hidden pride.
“Pride hardens the heart, and sensuality debases it; and that all those who live in pride and sensual indulgences, can no more comprehend the way of the Holy Spirit, or know the voice of Christ.” –St. John Henry Newman
Don’t Know What Love Is
Those suffering from great pride–which is a lack of faith–sadly don’t know what real love is, and we can’t live it or recognize it. This is hard to understand if we suffer from hidden pride since we will think we are oh so loving and kind. We might, even in Church, put on a smile and strive to be friendly and helpful, because we think that is love. And those things can be love, but to the prideful, much of the time, they are only outward expressions of our pride–wanting to be seen or feel like we are “good.” Sadly, even if I say these words to someone who hasn’t been humbled yet, we won’t understand how we desire praise or feeling righteous since we are still so darkened to understanding our conscience.
Oh, how hard it is to know our true intentions when we are blind. When we are suffering the blinding effects of pride, we do much of our good works so we can “feel” or be seen like we are “good” people. We like being good or feel it is our responsibility to do the “right thing.” And that isn’t necessarily bad. But, to the proud, our intentions to be kind and help others isn’t to love God through our neighbor–even though we might say or think that in our words. But the devil has tainted our true intentions for why we do what we do…and sadly the proud don’t know how to look into their true sinful intentions to see their error so they never correctly seek out God’s grace with a humble heart to repent and change.
Many do good with the wrong intentions, which makes our intentions no greater than an atheist who does “good deeds” too but for the wrong reasons. The proud feel we must be a certain kind of person to be happy. We see the benefits of being “good”–not to love God, but to fill our prideful appetite…yes, even atheists want to be “good.” They like the friends they have made from their “good” works, the complements they get from being “good.” They like the “high” they feel when doing good. Oh, there are so many reasons the evil one can remove any true intention we might have once had for doing “good” and warp it into self seeking love. If we aren’t constantly checking our intentions asking ourselves “why” do I like doing this?…how can we avoid this trap? We must always be on guard. We can oh so easily pride ourselves on our good actions. Only those who have been humbled (come to know their great sinfulness) and have been removing their pride in their actions know how tricky and cunning the devil is and how easily he gets into all of our works and destroys them. And if we haven’t been stopping and removing the devils prideful ways in our works, then surely we still have him hidden in our efforts to do good and we just don’t know it.
“Many Christians…who are virtuous men [have qualities of goodness], and who do great things, but their virtue and good works are utterly useless in the matter of eternal life: because they do not, in them, seek the honour and glory and love of God solely, and above all things.”
–St. John Vianney
We must understand doing good doesn’t mean we have faith, even if we attend Church and our actions seem to be for God. Some of the most prideful, as God has told His saints, are the “faithful” in His Church. Our true intentions for our actions must be for the love of God, but the devil deceives us keeping us from honestly looking into ourselves and tricks us into thinking we are doing everything for God, when God who reads our minds and knows our true intentions of our hearts, He knows we are living a lie. Truly, atheists, for the most part, don’t run around seeking to be bad, they were created with hearts of love, so naturally they want to love and be loved too. But without intentionally choosing to do all for the love of God, their underlining intentions for their “good works” is for the benefit of themselves, not God. We must have our true intentions be above the atheist. We need to constantly check our intentions for our actions–why we do what we do. Recognizing our lack of love–looking for our sin and repenting and changing to constantly stay in God’s favor. Are we really making all of our choices to love God who lives in every other soul or enjoying our work to benefit our self?
The more pride we have, the more confusion we have to what true love is, because pride rejects grace (wisdom) and makes us blind to the truth. Oh we can be “smart” but that has nothing to do with wisdom. Someone can be clearly told the Way and have great knowledge, but without wisdom, they truly won’t know what to do…pride makes us stupid. If we suffer from much pride, we will think we are right in so many aspects in life, but boy will we be very wrong with so many thing and on so many levels. Many others will see our dripping pride falling from us with each lack of charity we display, but we will see nothing or very little. But please lets not think only those with outward signs of dripping pride are the only ones suffering with much pride. Countless people are suffering from greatly hidden prides as well. It is just much harder to see them because it is hidden in our good works and kind personalities. However, good works and kindness doesn’t prove humility. But a lack of good works and a lack of kindness does prove there is much pride/guilt. But remember the greatly proud see in a skewed light…what looks like sin to those with much pride is love and what looks like love is great sin. What looks like “good works” isn’t and what is “good works” seems to be sinful. Oh, what are the horribly proud to do if they can’t see right from wrong. It is a real horror. Therefore, we need to always be alert.
“Christians do daily, who say, I am not like such an one, neither is my life such as his. Yea, many of them are even worse than the Pharisee”
–St. John Vianey
Blinding pride ruins our vision in every aspect of our existence. Sadly, if we have much self-love will see someone loving us…I mean really loving us like Christ has loved us by sacrificing, suffering or speaking the direct, yet gentle, truth and find that honesty disrespectful and rude as we become easily angered at the real love of Christ. I have seen this over and over again from one greatly prideful person to another. Amazingly each person who is suffering with much pride responds exactly the same to Christ’s love–and that is with great offence at the true concern for the salvation of their soul and one’s efforts to help them stop sinning. Some might not be so out of control to verbally bash the one loving like Christ, but tragically, if we have great pride, Christ’s love is offensive.
Those with much pride will not only be offended at others loving them as Christ loved but will be offended at anyone making any correction of them, especially someone underneath their social status. Sadly, any effort to enlighten or help fix one’s errors isn’t welcomed for the prideful, and it is especially rejected if the guidance is coming from someone we have been offended by in the past and haven’t truly forgiven. Then, from our pride we will treat the one loving us like Christ or anyone correcting us poorly in our thoughts, words, or deeds. Some of us will even tell those trying to correct us, “who do you think you are to disrespect me,” claiming we are judging them. All because the proud don’t know what love is and don’t truly want to change, which all comes from not wanting to see our sinfulness/imperfections from a lack of true hatred for sin. The prideful unknowingly want to be blind and prefer the darkness. The thought of being called out as less than good leads the prideful into depression/anger, not contrition. Horribly, the greatly prideful won’t be able to see themselves at all. And the more prideful we are the greater the darkness we live in…all the while we are thinking we are faithful good people as we live quite sick and steeped in great darkness.
However, when these same words of love or correction are spoken to someone with more humility, boy do they respond quite differently because they have some concept of love and can see. They want to know their errors, and are always looking. The humble take the words of others seriously, with great gratitude, as they know how hard it is to see. They carefully look into themselves to see if there is any merit to others commits (even if the comments seem to be coming from someone with malicious intent) to see if there is any truth so they can repent and change if needed. The humble know they are blind and need to be enlightened and understand much of the time God uses others to do that.
That is what pride does it makes it impossible to decipher the truth from a lie..and gives us the desire to stay blind. The proud become the abuser of the one trying to save them, who Christ is working through. Outside of the parables, Christ and His apostles were very clear with their direction away from sin; they didn’t sugar coat anything or act with political correctness to avoid angering anyone. Sure they didn’t go to save souls with the intention of upsetting people either since when someone becomes upset it tends to only close their ears all the more. The disciples tried to say the truth in the clearest but most accepting way possible. However, even with their hearts pouring out true love for God’s children, many wanted to stone them for their acts of love…but it was all worth it as some truly converted and God was very pleased. That is what happens when we truly work for the salvation of souls, some will love us and some will hate us. But we only do it for the love of God, not man.
Trying to Save the Proud
If we have at last allowed God to remove some of our pride and can finally see more clearly and now know the Way to Heaven, and have proven we have more of God’s grace within us (by successfully avoiding temptation and removing much sin) and now God can work through us without us misguiding others, and we are trying to save the souls of others even those with much pride, it may seem impossible and a loosing battle much of the time because nothing we say or do seems to make much of a difference upon their easily offended hearts of self-love. Those with great pride are sadly so blind, so sensitive and are tragically very much like the Pharisees who thought they were living good lives too, yet were greatly offended at any accusation otherwise from their great pride. As we read in the Word, we can clearly see the Pharisees were grossly offended when Christ’s perfect Heart of love, who spoke to them with the direct clear truth of their errors, as He sacrificed and suffered for them with the hopes to save their souls. What did God receive in return for trying to save their souls, for giving His life as an example and His words of what real love is, nothing but wrongful judgement of His intentions, an explosion of hatred, and jealousy…and even death. Well, we might not be killed like Christ, but we very well might be ostracized, treated badly, and slandered against, among having many other acts opposed to love done to us if we speak the clear truth with the hopes to enlighten someone to their misery and need to repent and change.
God clearly told us He was the example we are to follow. “I have given you a model to follow” (John 13:15). And God’s methods of enlightening us to bring out a true conversion in our hearts was different with each person and group of people. We can see God being very bold and calling people out on their sins directly by calling them “hypocrites” (Matthew 23:13) or “lairs” (John 8:44) and then we can see Him being more gentle with His words saying “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). God, who was perfect, had a real reason why He chose such boldness with some, which would surely upset, when He could have spoken the truth but in a less direct way, and why He was less abrasive. Instead of telling the Pharisees how lost they were, in a more gentle way, He was as straight forward as one can get. We might not fully understand why, our perfect loving God, knew that approach was best, but it was most certainly good and love.
We too need to examine each person and audience, who we are trying to convert, and really pray and think about what would be best for them. As we can see with Christ, no two conversions were the same. After looking at Christ and the apostles’ examples, it seems the more proud and stubborn the person was, the more direct God and His apostles were with their words. However, unlike Jesus, we can’t read souls. It is impossible for us to know really how much pride someone is suffering from or what is best. We can see someone’s blaring prideful actions and great lack of charity, and that can help us to understand someone’s sickness, but for most people, we don’t have great outward signs of our pride, as the devil is very good at getting us to cover our pride in our good works and smiles. But for the greatly prideful to have any hope to hear, someone needs to be boldly clear…any slight softening of the truth to try to keep them from becoming upset, keeps them from seeing any error all together. The horribly proud, for the most part, can’t see. In boldness is their only hope as the Lord has shown us. But of course when speaking with boldness, with the prideful, will almost certainly result in great offence. But in time, with God’s grace after much pray and sacrifice, hopefully that anger and the consequences their anger/hatred brings, will shed light to their great sinfulness and need to repent and change.
But we should never assume someone is horridly prideful, until we have great evidence someone is drowning from blinding pride, by giving them many opportunities to respond with humility when we speak softly. Therefore, we need to approach others, no matter who they are, as gently as possible, even if they seem to suffer much from pride as we try to learn their true needs first. We can see from the example of the apostle Luke, he even chose to find the good others did and complement them, to calm their pride, by telling others how good they were even though they didn’t belong to the saving faith nor know the true Way, before he spoke the clear truth, so to not have those he was trying to convert shut their ears to His words as He said, “I see that in every respect you are very religious” even though they worshiped an “unknown God” (Acts 17:22). Our goal isn’t to anger others, but to relax their pride, if possible so they will listen. We need to be sensitive to each person where they are in their life. If we see someone who appears to demand respect and authority, give them what they want. Change. Let go of our relaxed behavior and become very proper and cordial towards them. Do what we need to do to let them know we respect them. Many people still suffer from much pride and feel the need to be “good” at something or special in some way for their pride to not reject what we are saying. They want to feel valued for their experience or skills, so to clam their pride, tell them their gifts are wonderful blessings from God. Look into each person and see their needs and if necessary, even placate their sinful prideful behavior, so to not excite their pride so we can speak and they can still listen and perhaps even see. Once someone feels offended by their pride becoming hurt, and believes we might steal their glory or power, or we come across–in their eyes–as proud and superior to them, they won’t listen nor see. Our lack of sensitivity towards their needs, may even result in them to developing into the even greater sin of anger and unforgiveness towards us for seemingly demeaning them.
We want to steer people away from sin, if at all possible, and not do anything that might result in them falling deeper into it. But like I said earlier, sometimes–or should I say, many times–people need to fall deep into the loss of grace (sin greatly) and suffer horribly to finally see what they have done, and crawl cowardly back to God. One great mistake we make is to try prevent others from suffering the consequences of their sins, by worldly means (praise, gifts, etc.) because we have been deceived and think loving someone is making them happy. Loving someone is guiding them away from sin, which will bring them to true happiness. Much of the time…letting others suffer from their sins is what is best, without suffering we have no reason for God much of the time. One thing for sure, we need much wisdom to know what is best for each soul as no two people convert into a saving faith the same. We need to be very careful with everything said especially with complementing and placating ones ego, as we don’t want to be the ones to cause their pride to growing into even more deadly blindness. Therefore, exercise such much caution and restraint through the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
One of the reasons we have such a hard time converting our families or friends is because once we start talking about their sins or the truth about salvation, we tend to loose our restraint and speak more comfortably than we should and wind up saying things which can easily become be seen as offensive, especially if someone is suffering from much pride. And the more pride our family or friends suffer from, the less they will want to hear from someone they consider as an equal or less than them. Most of the time our family and friends won’t see us as the ones who have been blessed with much wisdom, even if God has transformed us and is now working more wonderfully through us. Therefore, once we begin to speak about their need to repent and change, they will not see that as love but disrespect. They will most likely fall into anger and reject what we say. Knowing that, we need to approach our family even more reservedly than a stranger…especially if they don’t want any advice. Or our lack of understanding their need won’t help convert them but could lead them away from the truth.
In the Word, we see the different means Jesus and the apostles approached each person. The apostle Paul several times, even got down right direct and told others that refuse to see, if they don’t change, they are doomed as he said, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God’ (Galatians 5:21) just like Jesus did with the very blind Pharisees…and we know in the Word some Pharisee, who were suffering great blindness actually converted. Praise God! So sometimes, humiliating directness is necessary. But like I said, most of the time, that shouldn’t be our first resort of delivering the Word. Truly all of the different proclamations of the Gospel to help save souls were quite different from one event to another. The real challenge for us is learn how to speak and change from each situation. We are to learn from every failure and successful circumstance, so we can become a better and better disciple of Christ. If speaking the true Word is done well, at first most won’t even notice we are trying to guide them to the Light, but if we see no change, we need to change. Then, if God wills, we can speak again more boldly, and then if that still doesn’t seem make any positive effect, perhaps greatly bold words are necessary….of course, making sure all is being done out of our heart of great love for His children, hoping one day they will finally hear before their hour comes. Perhaps God wishes us to not speak at all. Therefore, we must pray and seek God’s will. Truly it isn’t us who are doing the converting, but God alone who opens the mind, and no matter how He wishes to do it is wonderful. We just have to allow Him. But please expect to be bashed and rejected for loving how Christ loves. It is almost a guarantee, but like the people of Nineveh…sometime, they will see. Just do your best and trust in God for the rest.
“I [Paul, to calm the blinding pride of others] have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law—to win over those under the law. To those outside the law I became like one outside the law—though I am not outside God’s law but within the law of Christ—to win over those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some” (1 Corinthians 9:19-2).
The above step by step method of conversion I described is only to be done if we are speaking to an individual person and only if we have time to slowly develop a better understanding of their needs. If time is of the essence, and we might only have one chance to speak with someone or they are in fear of death, it is better to soften their pride the best we can and then be bolder with our speaking rather than to speak so veiled they might not hear at all. For some people, we might be their only voice of truth God will send, and they just might need to hear it with perfect clarity to hear. However, when speaking to a group of people, we can speak more boldly than with an individual, since for the most part, the more clearly we can preach the Word, the better chance anyone will have at opening our eyes and ears, since people, for the most part, don’t take what we are saying to a group as personally as someone does when we speak to them individually. But of course, some will still probably swell up their pride causing them to shut their ears to the truth and perhaps become angered. Therefore, even in a group environment, when speaking clearly expect to be persecuted, someone most likely will be offended. It goes with the work. 🙂 But that is what Jesus did so don’t run from the cross or the clear truth…it saves. We need to pray, fast, sacrifice and do penance so we can increase our faith to have the “boldness of Peter and John” who were perceived to be “uneducated, ordinary men” (Acts 4:13).
If after several attempts to convert someone has been made to try to open an individual’s ears, and they still don’t seem to change or want our advice, please don’t continue to speak. Of course we might be wrong, as we can’t really tell if a conversion is happening or if someone really likes what we are saying if they don’t properly communicate. But simply make the best judgement we can make based upon the knowledge we have and stop speaking if it seems to bring about no good. Then, speak with our actions, not words. Continuing verbal words of encouragement, if it is not being receive well or if sin is developing because of it or if no change seems to be happening, much of the time will only turn them further and further away from the truth or even cause us to sin. God will let us know, when or if we are to speak again. Much of the time God uses us a a catalyst for spiritual growth but the real conversion will happen some other way, not by our direct involvement. We must humble ourselves into silence, and stop trying to control God’s conversion. Just trust in Him.
When trying to save someones soul, if we respond with offence or anger towards someone else because they treated us badly, we are no less prideful than them and have just proven we are lacking much humility too. If that is the case, we shouldn’t speak any more, even if we think we see someone elses sin clearly and believe we can help; we can’t. Without the Spirit guiding us, from our proven grace, we will think we are helping others but without much grace (God driving our actions) we simply can’t lead someone else correctly. Our actions of virtue–proven during how we handle the cross–proves if we have the faith needed to truly help others. We also don’t want to be hippocrates that leads souls away from Christ by our poor example. Our actions speak more than words. We must respond with much love and pity for the poor prideful souls who are still lacking much grace to see. We are called to act just like Christ…never in anger but with great sadness…even sorrow until death at their loss. Crying for their souls; going to God begging for mercy to fall upon their poor lost souls. We must act with sacrificial charity at all times, even if the ones around us are thinking we are acting wrongly and behave vengeful against us. We must be love. Our only concern needs to be the Lord who reads our hearts and knows if love is truly driving our thoughts, words and actions.
“If anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit [grace–by gaining humility from removing much sin] should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted [through your own pride]” (Galatians 6:1).
Please understand, those seeking the path of Life, need this kind of poor treatment from others to perfectly humble us…so never fret if we are not loved in return for our efforts to save, but rejoice in such treatment as a gift from God. But not for a moment should we think we are outside of pride too, once we do we join the lost. We all suffer from pride to some degree…and probably have much more pride than we could ever imagine. So don’t think just because we aren’t easily offended or angered by anyone, we are without this problem. We all have it. The hard part is coming to know the real truth about our self.
We All Have Pride
We all suffer from different degrees of pride and different degrees of sin–lack of love. Truly if we only knew how horribly sinful we really are, we would have no pride at all. But until we gain true humility, knowing our great sinfulness, we will die blind from our pride. Whether we can see a sin or not, we choose that sin because we think something good will come out of it for our self. All sin is driven by selfishness. That is how come the underlining intention of all sin is pride (self-love). Pride is also know as arrogance, vanity, self-importance, conceit, self-admiration, self-glorification, self-trust, narcissism, egotism, haughtiness, and snobbishness. Sadly, we all possess these sinful qualities to some degree, unless we have allowed God through much work and diligence to remove some of them, they exist. If we don’t feel we have those sins, we are simply deceived. From the consequences of original sin, and the concupiscence we all suffer from, we all have those sins as they are the foundation to all sin. Only our Savior can remove them if we seek His transforming grace correctly.
“If we say, “We are without sin [without pride],” we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
We can think we are doing something out of genuine love of our neighbor but if our actions are being driven out of self-love, even if our actions appear holy and have a benefit for our neighbor, it still merits nothing for ourselves and that “good work” actually offends God. Truly, if our driving motive is self-love in any of its forms, we have done nothing even with the slightest “good.” From our hidden pride, many of us seem to “love our neighbor” in our thoughts, words, and deeds but from our lack of knowing how to look into our true intentions for why we do what we do, we stay blind to our hidden pride driving our choices. We will even be so blind to our own drowning pride inside, we will look at others and believe they are the ones with the tremendous pride, but in reality it is we who are suffering greater from an uncontrollable overwhelming pride (self-love).
From our pride, our poor souls will be tricked into thinking it is others with the real problems, when it is we ourselves with much greater issues. We will think we are doing great because of our knowledge, good works or prayers. But our knowledge, good works and prayers isn’t what saves, makes us holy or enlightens our hearts to the real truth. It is our heart of love, and the greater love we have for God the more faith we have. But we can’t read our hearts…only God can. Perhaps the devil confuses us when God loves us as He tries to draw us closer to Him and gives us gifts to serve Him. Much confusion can be found when God answers our prayers, heals us or others through us, give us talents or success or even perhaps gives us greater knowledge than others, etc. When God loves us, in any way, He wants us to use those gifts to love others for the salvation of our souls, but our pride much of the time takes over and deceives us into believing, from that very love God shows us to help save us, that we are already righteous and saved. But God loves the sinner and righteous alike. He blesses us all differently as His will desires not necessarily from our “holiness” but from His will alone. Sure much of the time God greatly blesses those who are more faithful, but if one is truly faithful, we will only see ourselves as incredibly unworthy and truly nothing, not better than others.
“Your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good” (Matthew 5:45).
There are many clues we are suffering greatly from deadly pride. We don’t have to stay in the dark if we want to see. For example: if someone corrects us and we become offended and think, who are they to tell us what to do, as we think of ourselves as so much wiser and better than them. Or perhaps we think we are the ones God has blessed above others, because we are so far advanced in holiness to know the truth, to have God perform miracles, and/or bless us with vast knowledge, we have just proven how “unholy” and prideful we really are. We have been deceived. When I was suffering more deeply from such issues, God sent a child of a different faith to teach me how He loves and how miserable I really am. If we pay attention, God will enlighten us to our misery, but we have to be looking. God will bring, most likely, the least of His children to us to humble us and hopeful we will see and repent and change so we don’t continue to drown in pride.
“You see those who are wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for fools than for them” (Proverbs 26:12).
When someone is growing in true wisdom, knowledge and holiness, the more God blesses them with success, wisdom and knowledge, etc., the more unworthy, unknowledgeable and unholy they will feel. The light of their sinfulness will become more illuminated. They, in God’s eyes, might very well be more faithful than others, and growing in true humility…but the more God gives them the less they feel. They are growing in nothingness. With every amount of wisdom God instills upon those on the right path, a greater light of the magnitude of God’s truth comes into understanding and the more fully they realize how very little they really know in relation to the magnitude of the whole truth which is clearly beyond their understanding. They also see more clearly how God blesses all of His children (faithful and unfaithful alike) as He wills, with wonderful love and knowledge as well as answers their prayers too for the goal of the salvation of their souls. Please remember, it is our hearts that prove our holiness…not how much God blesses us or by our actions of love towards one another…even if we appear to be very self-sacrificing.
God the Father told St. Catherine of Siena that “no one should judge that he has greater perfection [love for God] because he performs great penances [sacrifices for souls]…inasmuch as neither virtue [godly qualities] nor merit [reward] consists therin…merit consists in the virtue of love alone [which only God can read the heart to see if love is true]…[even-though] a soul should direct all her powers to My service…love her neighbor with such devotion that she would lay down a thousand times, if it were possible, the life of her body for the salvation of souls, enduring pains and torments [sending grace like Christ] so that her neighbor my have the life of grace.” Therefore, we should never judge our righteousness based on how much love we feel from God or how much we seem to love our neighbor, especially since we can easily be deceived, but rather only think of ourselves as completely unworthy of God’s love and become so grateful for His mercy (forgiveness, help and love), as we trust in Him to bring us to the true Light through our diligent efforts to stop our horrid sins against Him by truly loving our neighbor. Honestly, how can we justify ourselves, if we can’t read our souls? True righteous is only obtained by Christ for those who have the faith to accept it, and we simply can’t know if we do. Once we begin to presume our salvation, we loose site of the Way because we have become wise in our own eyes.
“I do not even pass judgment on myself; I am not conscious of anything against me, but I do not thereby stand acquitted; the one who judges me is the Lord. Therefore, do not make any judgment before the appointed time, until the Lord comes, for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will manifest the motives of our hearts.” (1 Corinthians 4:3-5).
When we have much pride we lack much love, but most of the time we don’t even see it. Yet, without love we are nothing (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:2). If we are in the state of great pride, nothing we do has any merit or value in God’s eyes. From the deceiver, we can think we are loving people and doing seemingly “good” things, but God who reads our hearts and knows the intentions for our thoughts, words and deeds knows our real intentions simply aren’t true, and are driven from mostly from our pride not love. We simply won’t be living for God’s will but our own. The whole world can think we are a fun, loving, great guy, but in the eyes of the Lord, He very well could be mortified by our actions as we scourge Him with every deed. God cry’s for our return.
Fortunately, if we are humble enough to read this article, then most likely our pride isn’t so blinding that there is no hope for us to gain true humility. And if we have read the other article on this web site about humility, then we know obtaining true humility, for most, takes a long time. Time is of the essence. We don’t know when our hour is coming, so now is a wonderful time to start. Even though sadly, many read sacred materials not to find our guilt and where we can improve so we can grow in holiness, but rather to gain knowledge of the faith so we can boost our pride and be seen or feel more knowledgeable than the rest. Hopefully, that isn’t the motive behind our reading this article. If we look honestly into ourselves and that is part or all of our reason for growing in knowledge of the faith, then now is the time to repent and change why we do what we do. Therefore, lets read to learn so we can become perfectly pleasing to God because we don’t want to offend Him any more. Implore the Spirit for help.
There is wonderful hope for those who want to repent and change…all of the hope in the world is found through Christ. He is our true Savior and blesses the truly contrite of heart or even a soul who one day wants to have a truly contrite heart with His wonderful help, if we honestly want to change. That is all God wants is our true honest effort and He will guide us to a saving faith as long as we don’t quit and become complacent again with our sinful way of life.
Sin = Bad…every time
We must accept reality, if we want God to change reality and gain true sorrow for our failure to love God. Honestly, if we really believed only bad occurred from every sin–that sin doesn’t love but offends Our Most Merciful Creator who gave us our lives to love Him and leads to our Eternal Doom–we wouldn’t ever intentionally choose it. Would we? We have little faith…little love for God. This is the sad truth we must accept and cry out to God for help so we can grow in our faith.
“Then desire [temptation] conceives [is accepted] and brings forth sin, and when sin reaches maturity [isn’t rejected/not repented of] it gives birth to death” (James 1:15).
Lets say, I have a cup on the counter, and I tell you, “Don’t drink from that cup because it has rat poison in it. It will kill you!” You believe me; don’t you? You do what is necessary to not drink it. You don’t test it to see if it kills you; you simply believe me. Nor do you try to figure out how much rat poison you can consume before you die…no, you simply don’t partake in any of it. Your not stupid. Sadly, from our self-love and great lack of belief, we become stupid and don’t really believe only evil comes from each sin we choose. We really hope something good…this time…is going to come from our sin. Yes, from our pride, we are quite stupid. We think we are right and God and His directions on how to live is somehow wrong. Our pride is quite deadly. If we really believed sin offends our creator and only produces bad, we simply wouldn’t choose it. Horribly, we like the results of our sins and apparently have no problem with offending God as we continue over and over again because of our little to no effort to change. We don’t hate every sin.
“[I] detest the smallest sin” (Jesus to St. Faustina, Diary # 1728).
Some of us don’t like the constant pain we live with because of our sinful choices, but we don’t hate the consequences enough to work to change. Sadly, changing is more effort than it is worth in our minds so we would rather live with the negative results of our sins than work to stop. Or we still believe our sin is obtaining us something good; if nothing else for many of us it is maintaining our state of laziness, since changing takes much effort. Therefore, we have no desire to amend. Or we refuse to acknowledge our sins as sin and prefer to live deceived. Truly, we don’t really believe all sin offends God, who deserves our love…not malice, nor do we really care more about God than ourselves as our actions prove. This is a horrible reality we must accept and run to God’s mercy for the grace we need to come to truly hate our sins.
Even an atheist can modify their sinful behavior to stop the negative consequences if they really hated their suffering that resulted from their wrongful choices. Of course their driving motive to change wouldn’t be to love God nor out of fear of His punishments, it would be driven from self-love–not wanting to continue to suffer from their wrongs. But we, as Christians, are called to rise above an atheist and want to change from our sinful ways not only because our sins harm us, but mostly because they offend God whom we should be loving with all of our heart. Stopping to sin because all sin hurts our Beloved Lord’s Sacred Heart and caused His horrid crucifixion should be enough to move us to amend our ways if we really loved God above ourselves. But for most, our love for God is proven to be so little, we simply think nothing of sin and commit the same sins over and over again from our little love for God and great pride–great love for ourselves.
If we “say” we hate our sins, but don’t work hard to avoid sin and change our sinful habits we have allowed to develop within us, we don’t really “hate” sin. If we did, we would do what is necessary to not sin and stop. Daily we would be modifying our lives and seeking any means available to stop sinning working to be a perfect saint out of great love for God.
Our pride, wanting what we think is good for ourselves: comfort, things our way, love, power, sexual gratification, attention, fun, money, accomplishments, etc. causes us to focus on obtaining our sinful will and not to focusing on loving God and obeying His perfect will.
“The greatest works are worthless in My eyes if they are done
out of self-will, and often they are not in accord with My will and merit
punishment rather than reward” –Jesus to St. Faustina
more coming soon