Temptations I’ve Known

Of Bad Pride

First, a word about good pride. Good pride arises from my sense, my awareness of self. That I am a uniquely individual person. That I have a history (that I come from a people and a place) and that, moment by moment, through my intentions and actions, especially as governed by good standards,[1] I am making history. Healthy self-esteem is a synonym of good pride.

Bad pride arises from my comparing myself (my self) to other persons and, in rejecting the Apostle Paul’s warning, “thinking of myself more highly than I ought.”[2] Ironically, bad pride, for me, almost always, is triggered by my low self-esteem (especially when the history I am making falls short of the good standards to which I ascribe).

Bad pride, whether for me or for anyone, necessarily, is false. For it flies in the face of this elemental truth: There is an immutable commonality of humanity. In a word, we, each and all, are more similar, less different. (Indeed, in most respects, we, simply and profoundly, are similar, not different). Even more, even worse, bad pride, in denying this fact of life, is the source of a host of hellacious discriminatory beliefs and behaviors.

© 2022 PRA

Illustration: Allegory of Pride (engraving), Lambert Cornelisz (1593-1621)

[1] By “good standards,” I have in mind the Apostle Paul’s commendation of that which emanates from “the peace of (right relationship with) God”; thus, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable” (Philippians 4.8a).

[2] Romans 12.3a

2 thoughts on “Temptations I’ve Known

  1. Paul I read this yesterday but didn’t write my feelings down right away!! As you pointed we all compare ourselves to others. I think it’s what we do after we compare ourselves that’s most important. I try to learn something from every speaker I see or listen to. I try not to boast internally too much if I believe myself to be better than another..AND I try not to be angry when I know I was better but wasn’t compensated finally as much as the other person! Someone even wrote on an evaluation a few months ago…. “I hope Loretta was paid as much xxxxxx because she was much better and more authentic!” And I swear I didn’t pay anyone to write that! But she was right and that other speaker gets 10K and I don’t…. HOWEVER when speaking about caregiving authenticity is 100% needed so if that’s what came across in my speech then I did my job for the several hundred people in attendance even if the compensation wasn’t equal. I came away from that saying this is the word I’m called to do even if I have to at times do it for free. Thank you for always raising difficult topics that makes us think!



  2. My dearest Loretta, I appreciate you and your commitment to “the work (you’re) called to do even if (you) have to at times do it for free.”

    Still, I bristle at the inequitable economy of scale that grants some speakers hefty sums and allots you, oft the more seasoned and skilled presenter, a lesser sum. For, at some point, the amount of payment is an expression, both figurative (pun intended) and literal, of the value others place on one’s person and presence. Thus, to be paid less may cause one to reflect negatively on a sense of one’s worth. Again, unfair.

    Surely, I can think of times in my life and labor when and where I gave greatly of my gifts (however many or few I possess) and the attendant compensation differed greatly from the extent of my preparation and presentation.

    All this said, all I can say is what I always say to you: Carry on! For the gift of yourself and what you have to offer is magnified in the lives and labors of those who see and hear and receive you. And that — your giving and their receiving — is priceless.


    Liked by 1 person

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