Summary: Sometimes we view the prideful with a true arrogance of our own. True graciousness means giving mercy to those who least deserve it, and that includes the conceited. (an Article from wit4life.com)
Recently, I have starting reliving the early-90s! It was bygone time of discovery and mayhem. An acquaintance (a friend of a friend) from that era still sends an update newsletter on rare occasion. I find this correspondence very amusing because the “news” is laden with a string of accomplishments in a braggadocios tone. It’s more one-upmanship than a recounting of the last year or two.
It’s not that this fellow (I’ll call Mason) is a haughty snob in total, but one gets the impression his detailed mention of his new fully-loaded Hummer, his improved physique, his new beach house, or his fat 401K is a big deal to him and should be pretty darn impressive to his readership too. I’ve really started to find him annoying.
There’s something about conceit that crawls on and gets under my skin. As I’ve read these newsletters I’ve found myself growing increasingly sarcastic regarding him, and desiring to knock him down a peg in some way, even if just in my own mind. And I don’t even really know him! Schadenfreude is a noun meaning: a delight in another person’s misfortune. I don’t often feel “schadenfreude”, but if I would it might be for Mason if ever had any misfortune. So, at this point I hate this about myself. It’s poor personality quality.
Recently, I had an epiphany: In general, I have pride issues with prideful people. I have no good excuse for it, it’s just wrong. I’d love to stick the feeling in the “righteous anger” column, but I have to admit it would be just a farce. So, there you have it, heap me right in there on the pride pile—It turns out, I’m just as bad.
Now I realize I’ve been thinking in essence, “I’m not like him. I’m better at being humble.” How stupid! That’s just me in full tilt arrogance.
Being condescending when wanting the pompous to cease is still pride coming out—like sludge. Why, oh why, oh why! This is a terrible realization when you’re steeped in the stuff at least since the early 90’s! But even in this form, it’s still a repulsive and degraded trait.
Pride is such a funny and sneaky thing. Just as soon as you think you’re rid of it, or gotten a handle on it, you realize, (maybe too late,) you’re feeling quite self-important for being so good at humility. Then, of course, you’re right back where you started. (Maybe you’re even worse off than before!) So, now I perceive this has been my situation with the wonderful and fabulous Mason. There I go again.
If I were truly gracious, Mason would get my unconditional mercy or sympathy. Until now, it has only been at best, my pity, but mainly it’s been my disgust. This is just not right. This email is a confession of sorts. I’m rife with pride and I humbly apologize. I may not always possess the pride one would expect or the pride is most typical, but I assure you, it is still ugly pride!
Maybe it is the truly mature and gracious person who is unruffled by another’s superiority complex. This has to be it, but I would not know from experience. When encountering big-headedness these gracious people can still maintain their big-heartedness. Now that is a person of good character!
For me, not yet! But awareness is half of the problem, right? (I hope!) So, I’m a pilgrim on my way. At least now I’m pointing in the right direction. That swamp of pride had me for a good long time, and to be honest the flip-flops on my feet are still pretty mucky. I may need to purchase some comfortable shoes for the long and rocky journey.
Proverbs 29:23 I will take as my credo. “A person’s pride will humble him, but a humble spirit will gain honor.”
I applaud those of you who are indeed gracious even to those whom need not your gracious affirmation as per the buoy of their own arrogance. A gracious person is utterly gracious, not just gracious part-time. I’m guessing there are not many of you out there in this world. The truly gracious wouldn’t recognize themselves as such! Sending “thank you notes” for my compliments on your humility negate the compliments altogether, right?
Extending grace implies those who do not deserve grace get it anyway. It follows in spades those who least deserve it get it from us even more so. And when given it is not rivaled by any pride for knowing the extension of such grace is given to the least deserving. Showing graciousness to the least gracious is the most pure grace of all.
See Proverbs 11:2 as a verse to live by:
“When pride comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom.”