A lot of themes are repeated over and over in Proverbs, and one of them is the danger of pride.
How does pride hurt us?
It hurts us when we refuse to listen to rebuke. Rebuke can be painful, but it can save us much greater pain in the long run.
Solomon writes in verse 1,
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke. (1)
I didn’t enjoy my father’s rebuke. The sharpest words I ever heard from him were, “I can’t trust you anymore.” They were words he said because I had lied to him one too many times. But they really struck me. I didn’t want to be a person that people couldn’t trust. And so I’ve always striven to be honest with the people around me ever since.
Solomon later points out,
He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded. The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death. (13-14)
He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored. (18)
When we listen to those who are wise, it gives us life. Many of them have experiences that we haven’t. And by listening to them, we can avoid the pitfalls that they themselves had fallen into. But by holding on to our pride and ignoring their rebuke, it can lead us to disaster.
Pride also wrecks havoc on relationships. Solomon writes in verse 10,
Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
A lot of our quarrels, especially with our spouse, are bred from pride. We don’t want to admit we are wrong. And so we stubbornly defend what we’d realize is indefensible if we were only honest with ourselves.
I know there have been times in my marriage that my wife said we should do something, but I didn’t want to do it. And God told me, “Drop your pride. Listen to your wife.”
Sometimes, even though I felt I was right about something, God still told me, “Drop your pride. It’s not worth fighting about.”
It’s not easy to swallow our pride. But if we want our relationships to work, and especially our marriages, it’s something we need to learn. And often times, we find that we’re better off for actually listening to our spouse.
How about you? Are you in control of your pride? Or is your pride in control of you?