Seven Deadly Sins for Writers #5 – Pride
God opposes it. It comes before a fall.
No, not that.
Nope, not that either.
Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
This is the deadly sin that set us in opposition to God, reigns in our hearts, fills us with sin, and takes us over the cliff.
Pride can interfere and take us off track in every area of our lives. How does pride bring about the fall of a writer?
“I’m pretty smart. I can do this. I don’t need their advice. They can’t help me. I couldn’t possibly learn something from them.”
“Why would I want feedback? I know what I should write, and I know how to write it. I don’t need anyone to review my work.”
“Just because they have two decades of experience doesn’t mean they know more than I do. I have fresh ideas and talent. They should be listening to me.”
“I shouldn’t have to go through all this work. Can’t they just accept my writing as the brilliance that it is and print it?”
“Ask for help? That’s ridiculous. Everyone is busy with their own stuff. I don’t want to be a bother.”
“Offer help? My time is too precious. They will figure it out or find someone else who has more time to spare.”
“Here is my plan. I am determined to carry it out. I don’t care what it takes. I don’t care what else God might have planned. I can do it, and I will.”
Perhaps some of these thoughts are exaggerated. Perhaps not much. Do any of them sound familiar? I must admit they do. They couldn’t have flowed from my fingertips here if they hadn’t crossed my mind at some point.
Since pride traces it’s roots all the way back to Lucifer, I doubt I’m the only one who has experienced these prideful ponderings.
We think we can do it on our own. We won’t listen, seek counsel, learn from others, or humble ourselves and ask for the help we won’t admit we need. For the perfectionistic pride-filled like me, it means not wanting to admit we couldn’t figure it out on our own, or that we tried and failed and now need help to get back on track. Or, we do only that which we feel is profitable for us. Time, effort, finances, editing skills – all are focused on our own agendas and never spent on others’ needs, for we are pridefully convinced we are somehow more important than others. We make ourselves God. Such hubris.
Why can’t we simply admit our imperfections, our need for others, and our need for God? It is because we are standing on a mountain of pride, unaware we are teetering on the edge.
What can we do to step away from that ledge? How do we get off this prideful path? We have to head in a different direction, for a different location to set up residence.
Humble yourselves before the Lord,
and he will lift you up. James 4:10
We can’t do it on our own. In fact, we can do nothing without the Lord. We may think we have it all together. Everything is perfectly in place, and we think we look stunning as we catapult blindly into the ravine.
It is when we are willing to admit we are imperfect, we don’t know everything, we aren’t capable of doing it all, and that we need God to do anything, that we have climbed down off that mountain and humbled ourselves before the Lord. It is when we can see others as not less important than us, but more. It is when we value them as we should.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
As Jesus modeled:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
We know that we will be blessed when we follow this example.
God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5
He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. Psalm 25:9
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. Psalm 149:4
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2
How can we follow these commands, receive these blessings, and practice humility as writers?
- Admit our need for the Lord in all things.
- Acknowledge our need for others.
- Put others before ourselves.
- Pray for the following to be true of our hearts, as David prayed:
My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
As we place our hope in the Lord, as we quiet ourselves to humbly accept our child-like state of fragility and need, as we admit we do not and will never know all, as we model Christ’s love for others, we can put off pride and put on humility.
Up next – Deadly Sin #6 – GLUTTONY – if I can stop eating long enough to write it.