A couple weeks ago I published A Confrontation of Pride (Part I), in that posting I wrote about how pride can get in between humans loving each other. I wanted to share why that is an important topic for me here because what I didn’t mention is that it has been a personal struggle of mine over the past three years. Here’s some dirty laundry…
Growing up I always felt the need to prove myself. I think it had to do with my outlet for “small guy syndrome.” I was too skinny for football, too short for basketball, and not fast enough for soccer. I was a “cute” little boy that girls saw as a little brother rather than someone worth dating. Honestly, things haven’t changed much in 13 years. I’m still a short 5’9″, 140 lbs, and I look like I’m 16.
To cope with it I grew my ego grew three sizes too big which made my humility two sizes too small (see The Grinch). When I talked to people I would constantly talk about how smart, surprisingly athletic, and good looking I was (still do to a certain degree); if people did pay me a compliment I would act as if it was an obvious statement and bordered on selling me short (I also still do that too, more for comical purposes but not always).
What I was doing was overcompensating for what I feared as inadequacies. I was trying to fill the void in my life with positive statements about myself before anyone else could fill it with negative ones. While it worked for a time, those statements carried less weight because I said it about myself, and they quickly faded away. So while there wasn’t room for other people to fill that void with positive statements during our conversations because I was always doing so, by the time I was outside of the conversation the fulfillment of the compliment had passed.
It was a few years ago that I was challenged by my friend Megan to quit complimenting myself because I really was all of those things, but wasn’t allowing others to say them. I had, to a certain degree, removed the ability for other people to be a part of my life (a dangerous practice for a Christian). So, with her as my accountabili-buddy I worked to not compliment myself, and low and behold… other people started giving me A LOT of positive feedback! They told me the things I wanted and needed to hear. It meant more knowing that someone knew me well enough that they could make as good of an evaluation of my character as I could myself.
People still said (and do say) negative things about areas that I am self-conscious in, but the weight and density of the positive statements are an excellent guard against negative comments. Not only do they guard, but they push opposing ideas out.
The two main points I want you to walk away with from reading this are…
1) “Do not be overcome with evil (pride)…” Pride is dangerous and will consume you slowly.
2) “… but overcome evil with good (humility and interdependence).” Romans 12:21. We must be humble, measured, and realistic about our gifts, talents, and abilities. That humility opens the door for human interaction and interdependence; where we become one people rather than a group of individuals. My gain is your gain and my loss is your loss. Jesus says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15.