One of my son Benjamin’s most prized possessions is his sunshine sunglasses. They were originally a hand-me-down from his cousin Faith to his older sister Amelia, but Ben claimed them. Being less than a year-and-half apart Amelia and Ben share a lot of things, but Amelia knows Ben’s sunshine sunglasses are off limits. I don’t know if it was the sun and rainbow on the band or the tinted orange lenses that drew him to them, but in his two-year-old fashion sense they are “Cool!” His favorite outfit consists of a blue hooded Mater the Tow truck shirt, his DinoTrux hat, comfortable pants and his work boots. He is one cool kid! If I dare try to say something like, “Look at the pretty blue sky Ben. ” He immediately corrects me, “No mom. Sky not pretty. It’s cool!” The trippy thing about his sunshine sunglasses is that when you wear them the sky isn’t blue, it’s orange. Actually they turn everything orange. Yes, I’ve tried them on.
In a way, I feel like I have been wearing sunshine sunglasses all of my life and recently God allowed them to be removed, or more like ripped off of my face. I did not ask God to remove my sunshine sunglasses, because I didn’t even know I was wearing them! It was like I had been color blind all of my life and once removed I could see colors for what they really were. Let me tell you what, all that sunshine was humbling! I knew God was going to have to help me adjust so I didn’t have to keep squinting in order to avoid looking at my pride. It was pride that was skewing my vision. Like my son Ben, even though my sunshine sunglasses were making everything orange, they really did make me feel cool. Pride has a way of dimming the harshness of other sins which makes us feel better about ourselves.
I learned pride is self-worship. Huh? Think about it, every time you sin it’s because you think you know better than God, right? It’s like telling God you are a better god than he is. That’s self-worship. You could even say that pride is at the root of every sin. Pride is so so sneaky. The thing about having the sunshine sunglasses ripped off of my face was that I was forcibly humbled, but thankfully for me, “God . . . gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). I needed a LOT of grace.
God was gracious and lead me to a mini handbook titled, From Pride to Humility by Stuart Scott. It stated, “The question is not ‘Do I have it?’ but, ‘Where is it?'” It listed 30 different ways that pride manifests. Thirty! The following quotations are from Scott’s handbook. Where I saw pride manifest itself the most in myself include:
Anger- “A person most often becomes angry because his ‘rights’ or expectations are not being met.” Oh. Well this just makes too much sense. When I got married I knew I was marrying a Christian man and I EXPECTED him to act like it, ALWAYS. Not a lot of grace was given when he did not meet my expectations. Lord have mercy, I’m not even going to get into the frustration (read: anger) I felt when my kids didn’t meet my expectations.
A lack of admitting when you are wrong- Aw fiddlesticks! Yep, that’s me. “A proud person will make a great many excuses such as, ‘I was tired’…” Or for me it would sound more like, “Babe, but you know I was hangry.” Next comes…
A lack of asking forgiveness- Checkmark on that one. Previously, asking for forgiveness seemed like a sign of weakness. I have come to realize it takes a LOT more strength to own up to a mistake and actually verbally say, “I’m sorry,” than it is to ignore the problem or blame-shift.
Voicing preferences or opinions when not asked- Haha, I’m sorry this one is making me laugh. Maybe it’s a nervous laugh? Maybe I’m thinking of all the bizillion instances that I’ve done this. And all this time I thought I was just being outspoken. Apparently not.
Being impatient or irritable with others- “Proud people might become angry with others because they are concerned that their own schedule or plans are being ruined.” With three kid’s 3-years-old and under I credit a large part of our family’s survival on having a routine. If someone gets in the way of my kids’ precious nap time (not to mention my ONLY quiet time) I fear for their soul.
I’m being nice to myself by only admitting to five out of the thirty manifestations of pride listed. I don’t know how much more my pride can take at the moment. If you are thinking, “Wow Audrey really is prideful. I’m glad I’m not like her. My self-esteem is too low to be prideful.” You my friend are seeing orange. You remember how I said pride was sneaky? Well self-pity is rooted in pride too. How? Check out this quote from Stuart Scott (the handbook guy):
“But what about those who are caught up in self-pity, who are self-absorbed with a sense of failure? This too is pride. They are just on the flip side of the pride ‘coin.’ People who are consumed with self-pity are focusing on their own selves too much. They are not concerned with the glory of God and with being thankful for what good gifts and talents the Lord has given them, but instead are focused on how they think they have gotten a ‘raw deal,’ or how they are not ‘as good as’ someone else. Self-pitying people desperately want to be good, not for the glory of God, but for themselves.”
Once upon a time I was the queen of pitty parties. I have lived on that side of the coin as well and still tend to visit it on occasion, but it is just as orange and skewed as the flip side. When a person is ungrateful, consumed with what other’s think, reaching for perfectionism or they continual think about what they lack then they are taking the focus off of God and putting it on themselves. Self-worship.
The super awkward part of when the sunglasses were removed was that not only did my own pride become apparent but other people’s pride was much more visible to me. I asked God to give me some new sunglasses. I don’t want to see that! Orange is not the most flattering color. Unless you are two-years-old those sunshine glasses look ridiculous on you. They gots-ta go!
“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5