Summary: Most everybody knows that pride is sinful, but not everybody has an adequate understanding of what pride is and what it does. Pride, at its very heart, is a self-centeredness, and it will always move you away from godliness.
Most everybody knows that pride is sinful, but not everybody has an adequate understanding of what pride is and what it does. Pride, at its very heart, is a self-centeredness, and it will always move you away from godliness.
Psychologists say that anger is a major problem in our day. Anger shows itself in a number of ways, sometimes full-blown rage, other times, a smoldering resentment. We can learn anger from those in our environment. The child who is raised in a home where there is constant strife will most likely grow up with some anger issues. We can learn anger from our own practice. If we respond angrily toward the little daily upsets of life, we will have a base of anger that is ready to manifest itself at the least provocation.
There is a righteous anger. We know that Jesus became angry on occasion, however, He was angry for the right reasons, and His anger was resolved in the right manner. The anger with which I am concerned in this message is unrighteous anger, anger that is sinful. This kind of anger is a pride problem. Remember, we said that the heart of pride is self-centeredness, and unrighteous anger is a response to a perceived injustice upon one’s self. Pride always wants to promote self, and pride is greatly offended when anyone or anything threatens self-image.
Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Be angry, and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” These verses are saying something quite different than most people think. They are saying that there are some things that we should be angry about, and if we are not angry about them, we are in the wrong. We ought to be angry at whatever provoked Jesus to anger. Jesus became angry when people were exploited in the name of religion, which is why He made a whip of cords and drove the money changers out of the temple. In proverbs 8:13, the Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” Therefore, we should hate evil, and we should be angry towards it. Ephesians 4:26-27 means that we are to be angry at these things, and we are not to let the sun go down our wrath towards them. In other words, we don’t ever let our angry response rest toward these things. Not giving place to the devil means that we don’t give the devil any slack, or leeway, but we operate in such a way that we destroy his works. This kind of anger has nothing to do with pride, but sadly, this is not the kind of anger most people have.
When you see any kind of relationship problems, you can be sure that there is a pride problem in there somewhere. I was speaking with a friend, the other day, about a church that is having some internal strife. He said something very wise. He said, “If you take people’s ego out of it, the whole issue doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.” I would not consider this friend to be deeply spiritual in his thought processes, but he sure hit the nail on the head on his assessment of that situation. This is true with most strife. It’s usually a pride problem. Hebrews 13:10 says, “By pride comes nothing but strife...” One translation says, “Strife comes from nothing but pride.”
A very basic step in defeating ungodly anger is to acknowledge to your own heart that you belong to God, and you are not your own. Your primary goal in life is not to protect your image, but to guard your testimony and exalt your Savior.
The most widely recognized form of pride is arrogance, that attitude of being a cut above someone else in worth and value. There is no doubt about it, this is wrong before the Lord. In James 2:1-4, the Scripture denounces showing partiality in the way you treat one person over another, and the worst form of that is to set yourself up to be better than somebody else. Each of us have had different opportunities, some have made better decisions than others, but we all stand on level ground before God, and it is not our prerogative to make judgement of anyone’s worth and value.
There is one form of pride that is hardly ever recognized as such, and that is shyness and timidity. It was rather eye opening to me when I learned that 2 Timothy 1:7, where the Bible says, “The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear...,” uses the word fear to mean timidity. If it’s not of the Lord, then it must be of the devil. I hope that doesn’t sound offensive to you, but I must tell what you the Bible says. The reason a person is overly shy and timid is because that is a mode of self protection against the fear of what others might think. First Peter 3:15 says that we are to always be ready to give an answer to every man concerning the hope that is within us. Remember, the heart of pride is self-centeredness. Maybe you don’t think you are as good as someone else, so you retreat. That’s a form of pride.