Pride. How often does pride cause problems in our lives? How often does it break our relationships? How often does it cause us to do things that we know are wrong?
It’s hardly a new problem. You see it all the way back from the beginning of the Bible, when pride, at least in part, caused Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledege of good and evil. “You will be like God,” Satan said. And so they ate.
And you see the same problem in this passage.
Ten of the tribes of Israel had decided to ask David to be their king once again, but for some reason, Judah, the tribe from which David came, hesitated. But David reached out to them, and they decided to follow him too, and in fact escorted him across the Jordan.
At this point, the rest of the tribes got upset. Apparently they felt that they should’ve been included among the escort. “After all,” they said, “We asked him to be our king first.” (19:43).
It was such a petty thing. And yet, they chose to make it a bigger deal than it was. Things weren’t helped when the men of Judah replied harshly. And so what started as a petty issue, turned into something big. Why? Pride.
How often does the same thing happen to us? How often do we get into fights with others because of a perceived slight. And rather than smoothing things over, the other person returns harsh word for harsh word. Pride on your part over your bruised ego. Pride on their part in not being willing to bend a little, recognizing that justifiably or not, you felt hurt, and should be shown a little grace. And unless you or the other person is willing to let go of your pride, great damage can be done to your relationship. Or worse.
A bruised ego on the part of Sheba caused him to lead another rebellion against David, and eventually it cost him his life. Likewise, Joab had his pride hurt when he heard that David was planning to replace him as commander of the armies with Amasa. And so he murdered Amasa. That too, ultimately resulted in Joab’s death. (I Kings 2:5-6, 28-34)
The question you need to ask yourself is this: “Do you own your pride, or does your pride own you?”
To own your pride means to know that your self-worth comes from God. That God made you, that you are his special creation, and that your value comes from him. As a result, you have no need to compare yourself with others. You’re content with who you are and what you have. And when you perceive slights from others, you are able to overlook them because you’re not getting your value from them, but from God. In other words, since your pride comes from the praise of God, it doesn’t control your actions. Rather, your only desire is to please Him.
To let your pride own you means that your pride dictates your actions, no matter who it hurts or what harm it causes. You’re always comparing yourself with others and competing with others. And in order to satisfy your pride and prove you’re better than them, you will step on or over anyone that gets in your way.
When people hurt you, you let it affect your relationship with them. Your pride was hurt, so you hold grudges. You try to hurt them back. You want them to feel pain for what they did. And as a result, your relationships fall apart.
How about you? Do you own your pride? Or does it own you?