Pride is the cause of many problems in our relationships. It causes us to look down on people, to make selfish choices, and often, it is the root of anger.
Let’s take a look at Hezekiah. Hezekiah was a king of Judah, and one of the only “good” kings. He trusted in God. When Hezekiah fell sick, so sick that he was dying, he cried out to God to restore his health and God granted him fifteen more years of life.
The son of the Babylonian king heard about this and sent him envoys with gifts. Hezekiah showed them everything in his kingdom; Isaiah 39:2 says, “There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.”
Hezekiah was prideful. He was eager to show off all that he owned to the Babylonians. He wanted to impress them. He wanted them to know just how great he thought he was.
Isaiah confronts king Hezekiah and asks him about the visitors. Hezekiah tells him who they were and tells Isaiah, “There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them” (Isaiah 39:4). Hezekiah doesn’t see the wrong in what he has done. He doesn’t see his pride as a fault. He enjoys thinking highly of himself.
Because of this, Isaiah prophecies to Hezekiah that the Babylonians will steal all his possessions and take them away to Babylon. Even some of Hezekiah’s decedents will be taken and be forced to serve the king of Babylon as eunuchs.
What is Hezekiah’s response? He brushes it off! He thinks to himself, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime” (Isaiah 39:8). His pride clouds his vision. He thinks himself so great a king that he doesn’t take God seriously.
Proverbs 21:4 reads, “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.” Why do we use lamps? We use them to see. But if we see the world and people around us through the lens of our pride, we will only make selfish decisions. Those decisions will damage relationships. When we act on our own selfish desires and interests, God’s love cannot shine through. God loves selflessly. We see this through His Son, Jesus, who gave his life so that we might have salvation.
Giving up pride is a painful process. It feels awful to be humble and lower oneself to constant servitude toward others. It hurts at first. In the long run, though, it is completely worth it. Having healthy, selfless relationships is so much more rewarding than hurting those we love and care for due to prideful thoughts and actions. And after a while, we start to see humility and servitude for what they are – as blessings.
Pride is sneaky. Before we know it, it has taken over our lives, just as it did Hezekiah’s. We mess up, time and time again. But God is faithful. He will never give up on us. He will never grow tired or leave our side. He will never stop shining through us, even when our selfishness and pride attempt to stifle His light. If we recognize we are prideful and need God to change our mindset, He will. But if we don’t recognize and agree with God that we have a problem, we can’t change. We will only continue to make decisions based on self-interest. Even if they seem to be acts of goodwill and selflessness, they will only ever be and extension of our selfishness. We need to turn to God and be open to opportunities that He gives us to overcome our pride.