Pride is universal; we all struggle with it. Yet we don’t always see it. Pride is a sneaky creature. It hides itself well, disguising itself in traits such as judgment, criticism, entitlement, ingratitude, people-pleasing, hypocrisy.
Definition of pride is: a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority. The Bible says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” -Proverbs 11:2
Pride can lead us into situations we never would have imagined for ourselves. Just ask Haman from the story of Esther.
Esther is a fascinating Bible story of a young Jewish woman, who became a queen. She came face to face with a demon of pride, embodied by the king’s right-hand man, Haman.
Haman was always seeking to elevate himself in the eyes of his king and the eyes of the people. He loved getting respect from men and controlling people. He loved his position, his power, his wealth and his manipulating schemes. Hello, pride! When Esther’s guardian, Mordecai, refused to bow down as he passed through the crowd, Haman’s massive ego was insulted.
In response to Mordecai’s slight, Haman convinces the king that the Jews are a threat to him and his kingdom. He convinces the king to destroy the entire race, who did not know that Esther is Jewish. Because one man refused to bow and pride prevailed, the entire Jewish nation was decreed to die.
Mordecai sends word to Queen Esther and implores her to approach the king and plead their case. Esther is fearful – it was death to approach the king without being summoned. She asks her people to fast and pray for three days and then she will approach the king. She tells them, “And, if I perish, I perish.” -Esther 4:16
Meanwhile, Haman is bragging to his wife and friends and complaining about Mordecai’s failure to bow before him. They encourage him to “’Have a pole set up, reaching to a height of fifty cubits, (~75’) and ask the king to have Modecai impaled upon it.’ This suggestion delighted Haman’s selfdom, and he had the pole set up.
In a tense moment, Esther faithfully approaches the king without an invitation. He extends his royal scepter to her, sparing her life and promising to give her whatever she wishes, up to half of his kingdom. She asks him to spare her life and the lives of her people – that they are to be killed and annihilated. The king asks who would dare to do such a thing? Esther tells him, “This vile Haman!” The king was in a rage. One of his servants told him that Haman had erected a pole to impale Mordecai upon. The king said, “Impale him on it.”
A Jewish holiday, Purim, was declared and is celebrated to this day. The Jews remember and celebrate the faithfulness of God.
Moral of the story:
- If you set yourself up against God, or His people, you will fail. It is a foolish and impossible fight.
- You reap what you sow. If you are planting negativity, ill will, revenge – it will come back on you. If you are spreading love, joy and peace – that will be your portion in return!
- Pride goes before the fall. If you allow your pride to grow and lead you, you are in for a rude awakening and a painful fall. God turned Haman’s evil plans onto his own head.
Where is pride showing up in our lives? Are we concerned with outward appearances? Are we judging and criticizing rather than praying and encouraging others? Are we seeking the approval of others more than the approval of God? It is all about “I” and “me” rather than “Him” and “others”?
The smallest seed of pride, over time, can grow into giant Haman-sized gallows. Be on guard against pride. Watch out for it; it sneaks in. Pray that God will reveal pride in you so that you can root it out and replace it with humility. Put God first; put others first.
God loves humble people. Aggressively pursue humility.
“Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” – James 4:10