#76. When Humility Turns to Pride

Last night when I finished my post, Posterous was down for maintenance, and since I will be driving a two hundred mile round trip tonight after work, I decided to just roll yesterday’s thoughts into Theological Thursday. Your patience and understanding is appreciated.


This picture that I found online closely resembles the condition of my car about five years ago.


There is a fine line between humility and pride. You may actually flirt with it more than you think.

I often joked in high school and college, that I was probably the most humble person I knew. Obviously the very utterance of such a statement negates the claim itself, but I thought it was funny, and it was always good for a laugh or two. Since then I’ve honestly desired to be a person of greater humility. It’s a difficult desire to talk about with other people though. You can talk all day long about how prideful you are, but the moment you express a hunger to be humble, you elevate yourself to Mr. or Ms. Self-Righteous.

“Oh, look at Mr. .Humble Bumble. He wants us to pray that he would have even more humility than he already does.”

Ok, so people may not actually say that, but I know their thinking it, or at least I’m thinking that their thinking it, which makes it true, at least for me. (That got a little confusing, but I’m pretty sure it makes sense if you read it with the proper pauses.)

So how can pride sneak up on you? What can happen that pushes your heart from humility to pride? Oh, you don’t ever struggle with pride? I understand. I rarely do either. You can probably stop reading right now, but for those that do falter, it’s our selfish, sinful human hearts and Satan, the master or manipulation.

Compared to what surrounds us here in the Dallas area, my wife and I live in what most people would consider a very modest apartment. It’s clean and safe, but there’s nothing flashy. After paying our rent today at the front office, I was walking out to my car and made an observation. My trusty 1993 Mazda 626 with 190,000 miles was an eye-sore sitting next to a fairly new Lexus, a three or four year-old Tahoe and bright, shiny BMW.

Our pastor speaks often of his 2000 Chevy Impala. He calls it the Gimp-ala, ‘cause it’s so ghetto, but he has got nothing on my busted up Mazda that I’ve driven since I was fifteen. My car is by far the ugliest ride in my office parking lot, but it runs. It gets me from point A to point B, and the air conditioning works great even in 100 degree heat. But it is pitiful looking. The paint is all faded or chipping off. The hubcaps are cracked, and one is missing. The rearview mirror has fallen off repeatedly and now sits permanently on the passenger side floor board. The cloth seats are tearing. The radio/cassette display can’t be read. Yes, I said cassette. The hood is bent. The plastic grill is broken in three places and held together with electrical wire from the broken fog lights. The headliner fabric is falling down. The entire car suffered hail damage several months ago, and the key won’t unlock the passenger side door.

All of these things collude to help keep me humble, but today, as I was walking out of that front office after dropping off our rent check, thinking how nice it would be to live in a better apartment or feel like we have enough money to buy our own house, all I could think about was all of these people driving much nicer cars than mine, but are evidently in a similar financial situation due to us living in the same location. First I got frustrated, because I deserve a nicer, more reliable car. But then I got prideful, because look how smart I am with my money. Look how I’m not throwing my hard earned income away on frivolous, depreciating assets that achieve nothing more than the vehicle I drive.

In an instant I catapulted from humble and thankful to prideful and cynical.

What things keep you humble? Does it ever have the opposite effect?



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