23 August 2018

The problem of pride in politics..... and everywhere else.

Pride is seldom used in a negative sense these days. But when you ponder it for a moment, we might just be in the grip of a pride pandemic - maybe even in federal politics! So just for fun, and to commemorate yet another leadership crisis in our nation - here is my light-hearted, awfully cheesy, ode to pride. (If you are on a mobile, turn your phone sideways)

It could be pride
Pride makes you make purchases you can’t afford, to impress people you don’t know.
And did you know we Aussies spend over $2bn a year on cosmetic surgery?
I suspect some of that could be from a tide of pride.
Pride makes nations end up in war and pride makes marriages end up in court.
How many families and friendships are forever fractured when pride sees them refuse to forgive?

People might send their kids to elite private schools because of pride,
and they might drop little Johnny to the gate in a luxury ride, because of pride.
Some swagger in their high moral standards, their virtuous life
, because of pride,
and some strut in their spirituality, their zeal for God, but on the side, it’s really pride.
People leave churches because of pride, and some never go in the first place.
Pride takes a leader adored by his flock, and ends their career in disgrace.
Soccer fans start riots because of pride for their tribe,
And if you mix religion or nationalism with pride
, well, you might get genocide.

Pride could see a leader, or even a prime minister, stay too long, or their understudies come on way too strong.
Pride repels us from people not like us and gravitate to those who are. Pride avoids vulnerability, never exposing who we really are.
Because of pride, some men I know don’t go see the doctor, nor ask for directions - even when they need it. And pride creates a desperate addiction for more of whatever will feed it.

We Christians are brilliant at spiritualising our pride. 

So as one of them let me just say,
If you do most of the talking in your small group – it could be pride.
If you sound like you are the authority on a subject – it could be pride.
If you hear from God sooo much more clearly than others – it could be pride.
If you can’t take feedback when someone offers it – it could be pride.
If you need to win the debate – it could be pride.
If you need to share your resume of why you are great– yep
, that’s likely pride.
If you get cynical, critical or sarcastic about others – it could be pride.
If it’s not your responsibility to serve or give – it could be pride.
If your serving must always be satisfying or fulfilling – it could be pride.
If you need to rescue people who are making dumb choices – it could be pride.
If you need to avoid people who are making dumb choices – it could be pride.
If all your relationships are beneficial to you – it could be pride.
If you are daily posting selfies on social media – it could be pride.
If you need to edit said photos so you look so much better – well, it could be pride.

Are you offended easily? 
It could be pride.
Are you tired or stressed out all the time? It could be pride.
Are you secretly jealous of someone’s life, their looks? It could be pride.
Are you desperate for praise or promotion or a platform? It could be pride.
Are your more likely to worry than pray? It could be pride.
Are you convinced you are really quite humble and surely none of this applies to you?
– yes, that too could be pride.

You may think pride is an essential characteristic of a well-functioning person, the only way perhaps to overcome and advance in life.  But as William Willimon in his book Sinning Like a Christian - a new look at the 7 deadly sins, says “Somehow pride and its cousins – arrogance, egotism, vanity and conceit – fell off the radar and got trumped by self-respect, self-esteem, self-confidence. “Love thy neighbour as thyself - just became love thy self and we’ve become the most narcissistic generation in history.”

It may not always be pride in this negative sense of the word, but if you and I dig down, past the good common sense, the logic and all the spiritual justifications – it is not beyond the realms of possibility that some of the heartache we feel or give, could indeed be born out of pride.

Perhaps when we shrink the transcendent from our lives, a higher authority to whom we offer our thanks and praise  all that remains is ourselves to promote, our interests to advance and our glory to behold. And in time, all of that eventually evaporates too and just maybe then we realise that all those pride-filled years yielded such a low return on investment. Pride is a prison that keeps you from the life you could have. 

In large or small ways, if we ruthlessly limit pride in our lives, we all might enjoy life together a whole lot more.