Obadiah: What’s wrong with pride? (@Seeking1st)

Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder_-_The_Tower_of_Babel_(Vienna)_-_Google_Art_Project_-_edited

What’s wrong with pride?

Is it really a ‘deadly sin’ as Christian tradition has it? Does pride always come before a fall as in proverbial tradition? It did in the story of the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel, pictured here by the painter Peter Bruegel the Elder. In that story people built a tower so high it carried the seeds of its own destruction.

English uses the word ‘pride’ in a confusing range of senses.

Pride can be used in a positive sense to mean proper self-esteem, the value of dignity, self-respect or delight in an achievement deservedly gained. That sort of pride can be life-enhancing. This last weekend I watched the Wimbledon international finals. The winners are justifiably proud of their success as are all those who helped them on the way.

Pride in a negative sense includes arrogance, a conceited sense of self- importance, a superiority that looks down on others. It is self-deceptive and tends towards destruction of community and alienation from God. In that sense pride does come before a fall and is condemned in the Bible which carries many warnings of pride’s calamitous consequences.

The short book of Obadiah contains a condemnation of the proud Edomites.

The Edomites were a nation who not only failed to help but also looted the possessions of the kingdom of Judah in a time of extreme need. Their pride deceived them and they thought that their high rocky defences were invulnerable. They were wrong.

Obadiah (a prophet whose name means servant of God) wrote this:

 “Your proud heart has deceived you,

you that live in the clefts of the rock,

whose dwelling is in the heights.

You say in your heart,

“Who will bring me down to the ground?”

Though you soar aloft like the eagle,

though your nest is set among the stars,

from there I will bring you down, says the Lord.”

Obadiah 3 – 4

 

This led me to think how I use social media and how pride affects that.

Pride comes in disguise. It is not always easy to recognize it in oneself.  Do I think I am better than others in some way? Do I use social media as a tool for connecting to others? Am I joining in conversations that build community? Or do I use it more as a form of self-aggrandisement? Is my social media content mostly me-focused? Do I use it to promote other people’s interesting posts or to encourage others? A challenge to self-examination, penitence and to decide how to make changes that are life-enhancing for others as well as me.

 

 

About Nancy Wallace

Blogs as Seeker (http://nancysblog-seeker.blogspot.co.uk/). Tweets on Twitter as @Seeking1st. Church of England minister and grandmother, struggling to learn to pray, paint and play.