Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Irony of Pride

April 28th 2016

There are many things in this world that blind us, or keep us from seeing truth, such as unbelief, false traditions, iniquity, addictions. However, the most ironic one of them all is pride. Pride truly blinds, and it can blind the best of us. When we hear the word “pride” we think of boasting and cockiness, wearing nice clothes and driving expensive cars while looking down upon the poor. As bad as that behavior is, that is not pride in itself. That behavior is a result of, or the fruit of, pride. When we hear the word “humility” often we relate that to timid and shy behavior and people who think less of themselves. This, however, is not humility.

Pride and humility are polar opposites of each other.
Pride is comparing yourself to other people and constantly seeing yourself in their eyes while possessing the inability to see your own standing before God. Humility is comparing yourself to God’s word. Its seeing yourself, and accepting who you are, in God’s eyes, and therefore possessing the capability to accept direction from Him.

“Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths! Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide” (Helaman 12:5–6)

The proud easily forget who they really are because they are slow to remember their God. Because they are blinded by their own self perceive greatness, they are unable to see their own weaknesses and therefore are unable to allow Christ to guide them.

“Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God.” (3 Nephi 6:13)

Humble followers of Christ are penitent before God. They have no hypocrisy or deception when approaching Christ. They are contrite, with full purpose of heart and real intent to repent of their sins. (2nd Nephi 31:13) They are penitent because they know and accept their standing before God for what it really is, and seek to better that relationship with their Savior.
Living in poverty or denying yourself a prosperous life does not make you humble. Having a sad countenance and crying, “Wo is me!” while whipping yourself on the back and appearing to your peers as if God is cleansing you through your trials and sacrifices does not make you a humble follower of His son. (Mathew 6:16-18) It makes you just a prideful as the rich man because you seek for the admiration (or pity) of men. Just because you claim to have ended up with the short end of the stick in life does not make you exempt from pride. You are still choosing to be a player in the game of envy and comparison.

“Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty. Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.” (Alma 32:15–16)

Blessed are they who will accept who they are in God’s eyes, and therefore accept direction and commandments from Him, WITHOUT having to be compelled through tribulations.
Trials are not a requirement for humility; however, they are a blessing because they do humble us:

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12:27)

The Spirit of truth is of God, Christ is the Spirit of truth, (D&C93:26) and truth is knowledge of thing as they are, as they were, and as they are to come. (D&C93:24) In other words, truth is to know things as they really are, and since Christ is the Spirit of truth, to see yourself in God’s eyes is to see yourself as you really are. Because of pride, which is to compare yourself to other men as oppose to comparing yourself to God, it is very easy for us to be blinded to our own iniquity.

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1–5)

Pride is so ironic because it turns the best of us into complete hypocrites without us even being aware. We become as the Pharisees and Scribes who, because of the pride of their own self-righteousness, condemned the Savior of the world to the hang on a cross. It causes us to pay such close attention to everyone else while being completely blind to our fallacies and condition before God. We accuse others for the exact things we ourselves are guilty of, but fail to even see it within ourselves. Be very cautious upon how you judge others, because with that same judgement you will also be judged. (Moroni 7:18) Because your words will justify you, or condemn you. (Mathew12:36-37) So do not allow pride to blind you from your own condition and turn you into a hypocrite.

To be humble is to accept light and truth from God. In order for that to be possible, we must be willing to accept correction. We must be willing to put aside our preconceived notions and expectations when receiving further light and knowledge from heaven, because often that revelation will contradict our current ignorant understanding. Pride is unwillingness to accept God’s direction.
In the Old Testament book of 2nd Kings, chapter 5, verses 1-14 ,we read of a general named Naaman who desired to be healed of his leprosy. Because of prior beliefs, he had an expectation that if he went to the prophet Elisha, Elisha would come out, lay hands upon him, call upon the name of the Lord, and heal his leprosy right then and there. (5:11) However his expectations were dashed, and he was angry, when he was told by Elisha’s messenger to go wash seven times in a dirty river in order to be healed. (5:10-12) It was not until he humbled himself, or in other words accepted God’s direction to wash in the river, that he was finally healed. (5:13-14)
Pride makes us angry to things that do not jive with our current understanding. It creates cognitive dissonance and gives us negative emotions upon hearing a truth that we do not comprehend. Offense is taken when no offense was ever given. Pride causes us to be puffed up in our own understanding (2nd Nephi 9:28-29, 28:18), which then causes us to persecute those who do not believe according to our own understanding. (Alma 4:8) To be humble includes a willingness to be wrong, and therefore a capability to accept counsel and direction from God.

Little children are humble because they do not compare themselves to others. They don’t fear looking dumb for appearing na├»ve because they know they don’t know anything, and therefore they pester their parents with the why’s and how’s of life. They don’t have any prior expectations or preconceived notions to hinder them from receiving direction. They are inquisitive and anxiously desire knowledge about the world around them.
We arrogant adults don’t like to appear unknowledgeable in front of our peers. What we don’t know scares us. Appearing inadequate, or unsuccessful, to others is embarrassing so we put on this fake act for the world around us. As opposed to seeing ourselves as little children see themselves, for who we really are, we choose instead to remain in prideful ignorance, cowering in our little bubble of comforting lies. We MUST willingly humble ourselves before God and become as a little children, or we are damned to remain in an ever continuing cycle of pride.

“And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things. And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.” (3 Nephi 11:37–38)

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