Difficulty of unchecked pride
Proverbs 16:5,18-19, 21:24
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
be assured, he will not go unpunished. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
We are repeatedly told that the Lord who made and knows our hearts hates when those hearts are over-inflated with pride. He despises pride, even while some re-make it into a virtue of confidence.
Admittedly, some pride can be a good thing. “She takes pride in her work,” or “He takes pride in his craft,” someone compliments. We say this noticing when someone makes the extra effort to do his/her work very well, with excellence, cutting no corners, taking no shortcuts.
But even this can become self-aggrandizing. A musician may exhibit haughtiness toward others because they cannot play as he/she does. A star athlete may disregard the uncoordinated as not worth their attention or courtesy. Excellent ability (which can serve others) becomes self-important arrogance (which diminishes others).
Pride is not merely odious, it is dangerous. Persistent pride the Lord will punish, perhaps with an unexpected “fall.” Peter came to understand that the Lord actively opposes the proud. Needed grace is not extended to such persons, but only toward the humble (1 Pet.5:6). His call to “clothe yourselves—all of you—with humility toward one another.” Peter himself experienced the humility of his Lord; it astonished and changed him.
Fabienne Harford, writing for Desiring God Ministries and drawing from the writings of Jonathan Edwards, suggests there are 7 subtle signs of pride. (1) fault-finding in others, (2) a harsh spirit , (3) superficiality (over-concerned with other’s perceptions of us), (4) defensiveness, (5) presumption before God (making demands rather than humble requests), (6) desperate for attention, and (7) neglecting others (honoring some, dismissing others). Choosing to be prideful rather than genuinely humble may bring some very difficult tough stuff into our relationships with God and others.