Want to End Up Very Mediocre? Then Be Proud!

John Dickson commenting on G.K. Chesterton’s thoughts on pride and humility. “human pride is in fact the engine of mediocrity. It fools us into believing that we have ‘arrived,’ that we are complete, that there is little else to learn. Humility, by contrast, he said, reminds us that we are small and incomplete and so urges us on toward the heights of artistic, scientific and societal endeavour:” John Dickson, Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership

BTW NOTE: I think it should be said that pride can make someone mediocre, but it might not. It can also make someone a perfectionist that is always pressing on in search of something better. But this too can become a vice. Humility finds the sweet spot.

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The Accuser Stirs Up Our Pride (Grace Stirs Up Faith)

“What I hope you’ll avoid, though, is the continual rehearsal over and over again of sins, particularly those you have repented of. Such rehearsal is not a result of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is a function of our enemy as he incites our pride. For instance, there are sins in my life that I committed years and years ago, and yet hardly a day goes by without my revisiting them. I would like to think that is because I’m so bent on holiness, but I doubt that’s the case. If I were really that concerned about God’s honor, I would believe what he has said about them, that they are forgiven, and I would live in humble gratitude. But I don’t. I mull over them and then try to make up excuses and turn them around and repent all over again.” -Elyze Fitzpatrick, Comforts from the Cross

Self-centeredness vs. Union with Christ

“Perhaps, then, another reason it’s difficult, if not impossible, for us to embrace union with Christ is because it displaces us from the center of our own lives, where we naturally love to be. It tells us that the most important part of our identity comes from outside ourselves and that, therefore, our posture needs to be one of dependence and vulnerability, of waiting and trust. To an age that embraces self-promotion as fervently as our own, union with Christ will come across not only as bizarre and strange but even distasteful and offensive.” -Rankin Wilbourne

 

Deflated Pride

“But there are other proud people who have low self-esteem. They feel they haven’t lived up to their potential. They feel unworthy. They want to hide and disappear, to fade into the background and nurse their own hurts. We don’t associate them with pride, but they are still, at root, suffering from the same disease. They are still yoking happiness to accomplishment; it’s just that they are giving themselves a D– rather than an A+. They tend to be just as solipsistic, and in their own way as self-centered, only in a self-pitying and isolating way rather than in an assertive and bragging way. One key paradox of pride is that it often combines extreme self-confidence with extreme anxiety. The proud person often appears self-sufficient and egotistical but is really touchy and unstable. The proud person tries to establish self-worth by winning a great reputation, but of course this makes him utterly dependent on the gossipy and unstable crowd for his own identity. The proud person is competitive. But there are always other people who might do better. The most ruthlessly competitive person in the contest sets the standard that all else must meet or get left behind. Everybody else has to be just as monomaniacally driven to success. One can never be secure. As Dante put it, the “ardor to outshine / Burned in my bosom with a kind of rage.” -David Brooks, The Road to Character

Bloated Pride

“Pride can come in bloated form. This is the puffed-up Donald Trump style of pride. This person wants people to see visible proof of his superiority. He wants to be on the VIP list. In conversation, he boasts, he brags. He needs to see his superiority reflected in other people’s eyes. He believes that this feeling of superiority will eventually bring him peace.” -David Brooks, The Road to Character