I recently read a magazine article about an incredible basketball player in the NBA. The writer described this young man’s tremendous skills, impressive stats and amazing work ethic, but what impressed me most was some of the comments from his coaches, management and teammates. They highlighted his humility. They emphasized the fact that his great success had not “changed” him. All of his accomplishments, the attention he got from fans and media, and the awards he received hadn’t “gone to his head.” They were impressed with his “down to earth” attitude. They recognized that this player was different from the many others they had seen who were ruined by celebrity status.
Humility! It matters. It’s unique. And, sadly, it’s rare.
The culture we live in, while acknowledging the attractiveness of humility at times, promotes the opposite. Advertisements, movies, television, and even popular music push people toward a self-important, selfish, hyper-ambitious, me-centered way of thinking. The choices people make about the cars they drive, the clothes they wear, the positions and titles they pursue, the places they go, and the “friends” they try to associate with are, far too often, motivated by the desire to be “somebody.” Unfortunately, the “pride of life” is the driving force behind many of our decisions in life.
Pride leads to a lot of hurtful, sinful and unloving actions. Prideful people step on and step over people on their way to the “top.” Prideful people have little use for those who can’t help them, or can’t provide the pathway for them to get what they want. Even when prideful people do good things, show charity, or provide help, it’s usually for the accolades and advantages they hope to receive. Pride is dark and destructive in so many ways.
When you consider the impact pride has on relationships it becomes clear why the Bible tells us that “Love … isn’t proud.” (See 1 Corinthians 13:4.) Prideful people have a hard time connecting with others. Their modus operandi is to use others. They have a hard time admitting mistakes, apologizing for failures, serving someone else’s needs, or promoting another person’s success. Pride and love are like oil and water, they don’t mix!
To grow in love, we must be prepared to lay aside pride. We must practice the attitude of humility. Jesus is our example!