Positive and negative pride

“I truly am the best thing this church has ever seen.”

“I really am good for nothing, this church would be better off without me.”

Two statements that seem miles apart but which in fact are both likely to come from sinful pride. Doug Wilson has a good article on pride here.  In particular he highlights the danger of what he refers to as negative pride – the pride of those who have a low opinion of themselves and seek to be the centre of attention because of it.

But someone who has a low opinion of himself can be every bit as self-centered. “Look at everyone watch me. See them stare at me when I tell jokes. Why are they laughing at my clothes?” This person has a low opinion of himself and also seeks to be the center of his known universe.

In my experience this form of pride is just as common and every bit as dangerous as the pride of those who have a high opinion of themselves.

Wilson goes on to highlight the danger of much of modern counselling, and sadly much of what masquerades as Christian counselling, in which someone with low esteem is told to learn to love and value their own self worth.   That kind of counsel is deadly to those seeking to live on and be shaped by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

To focus your eyes on anything except the Lord Jesus is spiritually suicidal. If your attention is centered on yourself (whether you see a worm or a superstar is utterly beside the point) you are a priest in the cult of self-worship. A holy life will be God-centered, not self-centered. The antithesis of such holiness is the egocentric demand to be the Main Attraction.

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