29 October 2009

More On Pride (Moron Pride?)

Pride most prominently displays itself in narcissism and other forms of self-centeredness.

Yet pride also wears masks. For example, pride can be masked as autonomy (self-independence) or by relational distance. It surfaces when one is hyper-critical, defensive, questioning, resentful about authority, and being overly sensitive. Then again, if one is in authority, perhaps it shows up as being either demanding of people (and self)-or the reverse may be operating: and one might try to curry favor by not expecting much of anything to gain popularity points. Still in what form it takes outwardly, pride is certainly a deeply tangled root.

One of the added difficulties with pride is that when you put your mind to working at not being prideful, it shows up in one of its variants - as self-pity, self-flagellation or even of self-sacrifice but motivated by vanity.

Judges 9 is a good illustration of the haughty kind of pride that sets itself up against the God versus self-respect or "healthy pride"- which is doing what one was designed to do:

Judges 9:5-15
5 Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers, the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, because he hid himself.
6 And all the men of Shechem gathered together, all of Beth Millo, and they went and made Abimelech king beside the terebinth tree at the pillar that was in Shechem.
7 Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and cried out. And he said to them:
“Listen to me, you men of Shechem,
That God may listen to you!
8 “The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them.
And they said to the olive tree,
‘Reign over us!’
9 But the olive tree said to them,
‘ Should I cease giving my oil,
With which they honor God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’
10 “Then the trees said to the fig tree,
‘You come and reign over us!’
11 But the fig tree said to them,
‘ Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit,
And go to sway over trees?’
12 “Then the trees said to the vine,
‘You come and reign over us!’
13 But the vine said to them,
‘ Should I cease my new wine,
Which cheers both God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’
14 “Then all the trees said to the bramble,
‘You come and reign over us!’
15 And the bramble said to the trees,
‘If in truth you anoint me as king over you,
Then come and take shelter in my shade;
But if not, let fire come out of the bramble
And devour the cedars of Lebanon!