Pride in Self-Exaltation and Pride in Self-Deprecation

Confession: I tend to compare myself to others. I know I’m not supposed to, I know I shouldn’t, I know nothing good comes from it, but I do it, nevertheless. Sometimes I win in my comparison games, and I think I’m better off, more talented, more spiritual, or a better parent. More often than not, I feel like the loser, the one with less wisdom, less education, less financial status, and inferior parenting skills. Sometimes I compare my house, or my kids, or my job, or my dog.

As I’ve grown older and matured, my comparison games have lessened, and I have felt freer to accept who I am. However, I seem to slip back into this pattern when I least suspect it. Why can’t I be like that person who homeschools her children perfectly, or like the one who lives in the perfect house or has the perfect body or the perfect marriage? Yes, yes, I know nothing is “perfect”, but itΒ seemsΒ perfect to me at the time.

It’s easier to confess that I think of myself less than others, as the attitude could appear as humility. But, truthfully, sometimes I think I’m better than others as well. There is nothing pretty about admitting this, but it’s the honest truth. I may think of myself as more spiritual or mature or whatever else, until God reminds me of my need of Him (and He does that very skilfully).

Like I said, one kind of comparison may appear as low self-esteem or humility in a twisted kind of way, while the other arrogant. But I think I’ve come to understand that it doesn’t matter what end of the spectrum I’m in, all comparisons stem from pride. Pride if I think of myself higher and pride if I think of myself lower. True humility is to love God and receive what he gives me with gratitude. This includes not only who I am as a person, but also my lot in life. Humility is also understanding my propensity to sin and receiving the forgiveness that only Jesus can grant. When I understand my weaknesses but I also accept his grace and his will for my life, that is when I am truly humble. In that place, I neither exalt myself nor self-deprecate. In fact, I’m not the center of my world, but He is.

I want to live humbly, loving God with all my strength and mind and soul, and loving others as myself. Comparisons have no place in a Christ-centered life.

Lord, forgive me for my pride. Restore me. Help me to live humbly before you. All glory belongs to you.

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