It’s hard to put on humility if you don’t think you have pride. The characteristics of pride can be understood as follows:
1. Being blind, unable to see pride. Pride envelops itself in smoke unless you’re in the mirror of God’s word and God, by His grace, allows you to see your sin and its magnitude. Many people see the logs in other people’s eyes and maybe the speck in their own. They may even say “I’m proud” and then move right on as if it were insignificant.
2. Being unthankful. Proud people think they deserve only what is good. The result is, why should they be thankful? As a matter of fact, they may even complain because they think they deserve better. They tend to be critical and complainers. One of our professors at the seminary sized up a student, saying, “This person is a walking minus sign!” They may grumble, be discontent, see the downside of everything, be quarrelsome and divisive. No one is safe around this type of person.
3. Outbursts of anger, withdrawing, pouting, being moody or impatient because one’s rights or schedules aren’t being met.
4. Perfectionistic-type persons who want to be the best at everything are also proud. Why? Because it’s self-serving. They brag and talk about themselves all the time. It reminds me of a cartoon of Garfield talking to Odie, the dog. He says, “Odie, I’m tired of talking about me. You talk about me for awhile.” Some have an inflated view of their own importance, abilities, and talents.
5. Seeking independence. Some proud people find it extremely difficult to work under someone else, to submit. They have to be their own boss. They say, “I don’t need anyone. I don’t need accountability for my faith and doctrine.” Others cut themselves down with comments, but inwardly they crave self-sufficiency.
6. Monopolizing conversations, being rigid, stubborn, headstrong, and intimidating, saying, “It’s my way or the highway.”
7. Being consumed with what others might think of them, being man-pleasers or man-fearers.
8. Being devastated by criticism.
9. Not listening very well. They compose what they are going to say while you’re speaking.
10. Being unteachable. They know it all. They’re superior. They can’t learn anything.
11. Being sarcastic, hurtful, jesting, saying, “That’s just the way I am. That’s my personality. I’m A-type. I’m dominant, choleric, lion, beaver, mule,” whatever else you want to call them!
12. Wanting to be praised or to be coaxed to serve. Unwillingness to initiate or commit to the right thing simply to please God. I like Jay Adams’ answer to people who leave churches and say, “That was a cold place.” He says, “Go warm it up!” Such people are just consumed with themselves, jealous, envious, not glad
for others’ successes, deceitful, covering up faults, rarely seeking help, fake, and hypocritical.
13. Being defensive: “It can’t be my fault!” Then they attack one another. Revenge, trivializing their sin, rationalizing it, justifying it, judging others by their own self-made standards. Often proud people rarely admit their sin or ask for forgiveness.
14. Lacking in biblical prayer, in service to other people, and in sacrificial deeds of love. (Thomas Watson said, “We should pray without ceasing because beggars beg.”) Instead, being touchy, irritable, or ultra- sensitive.
15. Resisting authority, being disrespectful. We say he or she has a submission problem. No, they have a pride problem. It’s displaying itself that way. This person is rarely concerned about the welfare of someone else. They view and judge others in terms of how others support them and their concerns, their ministry. They voice their preferences at times, even when not asked. When they do voice them, it’s without compassion or consideration for others. They convey an unapproachableness. Even when someone points out a flaw, there’s always a quick retort, minimizing it and moving on.
** By Professor and Bible counselor Stuart Scott
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