Out of all the things God says He hates, pride is one of them (Proverbs 8:13, Proverbs 16:5). Yet pride is a sin that can easily overtake our lives. Typically, when we think of the prideful person, we imagine a person of great stature and arrogance, who talks about themes or herself and belittles other people. However, some signs of pride may not be as obvious. Whenever we make ourselves the central focus (whether internally or externally), we fall into pride. We must be careful to take a self-evaluation and properly judge if we have fallen into this trap. With this in mind, here are 10 signs you may struggle with pride.
1. You Are a Poor Listener
If you find that you don’t listen well to other people, you may struggle with pride. Conversations should be a “two-way street” where both people are mutually heard and honored. However, a prideful person places the attention on themselves. Instead of taking time to think through what is being told to them, they can’t wait to interject with their opinion or make the conversation about them. Here are several clues that your communication may be self-centered.
– Needing to have the last word.
– Failing to empathize.
– Constant interrupting.
– Desire to prove a point more than come to reconciliation.
– One-upping/trying to prove you have it worse or better than them.
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…” (James 1:19)
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2. You Are Afraid of Embarrassment
Although being easily embarrassed may feel like a sign of insecurity, it places attention on wanting to maintain our “image.” Many people remain in toxic relationships and declining business ventures for fear of being seen as a failure. This fear of embarrassment is an attempt to protect our ego. However, in our effort to look good in public we only further harm ourselves. This fear of embarrassment prevents us from speaking publicly, trying new things, or stepping out in faith. When we make choices based on protecting our image rather than glorifying God, we are operating in pride.
"Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD." (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
3. You Suffer from Hindsight Bias.
Hindsight bias occurs when people convince themselves after an event happens that they accurately predicted the event before it occurred. In other words, those who often say, “I told you so” suffer from hindsight bias. These people tend to always be right because they “knew it all along.” Yet, the truth is that their pride causes them to want to take credit for the situation and be recognized for having the right answer. No one knows the perfect solution for every situation. If we believe we know it all, we are only fooling ourselves and allowing pride to make us unteachable.
“Boast no more so very proudly, do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and with Him actions are weighed.” (1 Samuel 2:3)
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4. You Complain a Lot
If you constantly talk about who and what is displeasing to you, this may be a sign of pride. The person who complains about every situation draws attention back to themselves. When we do so, we may come to believe every situation must be to our liking or that people should always meet our expectations. Thus, instead of being of service to make things better or seeing the best in situations, the prideful person is frustrated that people aren’t doing exactly what they think is best. If you find yourself complaining about situations often, ask yourself, “Am I being prideful in this moment or considering others?” Complaining will never be met with the favor of God but proves we have an ungrateful heart.
“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,” (Philippians 2:14-15)
5. You Only Spend Time with People of a Certain Social Status
Treating people differently based on social status, wealth, titles, race, or positions can be a clue that you are self-centered. Rather than associating with people that others may look down on, a prideful person may only want to be friends with the most attractive, powerful, and sought-after people. In your own way, you may associate their image with your own.
Although our friends reflect us, we shouldn’t choose them based on outward appearance and status alone. We see that Jesus had a friend group of those who were from various backgrounds, careers, and levels of spirituality. He was adamant of how He could be a blessing to their lives and not just how they could help him progress or make him look good. If you choose friends based on how it can benefit you and your agenda, this is a sign you may be dealing with pride.
“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:8-9)
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6. You Are Critical of Other People
If you criticize or put people down often, this is a clear sign of a prideful heart. Constantly finding fault in other people and expecting people to fall short is an example of being critical. In our own way, we may believe that no one can be as holy as we portray ourselves to be. For some, they overly judge others while justifying their own sin. This can be associated with being spiritually prideful. In this way, the prideful person may constantly point out how others need to change, and even pray that God would change them.
Those who focus on religion and have fallen into legalism may find that they spend most of their time throwing condemning Scriptures at people without the context or relationship to really lead to a heart change. In doing so, those who are overly critical may feel like they are more superior and deserve God’s blessing more than everyone else.
7. You Are Self-Ambitious
There is nothing inherently wrong about having goals and big dreams. However, we must check our motives for why we desire things. Are we wanting a bigger house so that we can show off, or to have the ability to take care of those in need? Are we wanting a degree for a sense of prestige or to use our education for the greater good?
Pastor P.G Williams of Grace Valley Church describes selfish ambition in this way,
“The Greek word for selfish ambition is eritheia, and the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle defined selfishly ambitious people as those who want to achieve political office by making themselves look bigger and better before others through trickery. In other words, selfishly ambitious people are those who will electioneer for office and court popular applause by deceit. They are always putting themselves forward without reference to truth.”
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8. You Always Blame Other People When Things Go Wrong
If you tend to place blame on everyone else versus taking ownership, you may struggle with pride. In other words, the one who fails to take responsibility see their point of view and actions as the supreme choice. Rather than embracing humility and seeking to change, those with pride struggle to come to terms with the idea that they made a bad decision. Even if they internally realize they made a wrong choice, their pride will keep them from saying so out loud.
The sin of pride will lead people to only see the negative in others and never address the issues within their own lives. In fact, any negative characteristics that the prideful person may have will be due to the other person. This is often seen in marriages as one spouse is convinced that their behavior is only a result of the other person’s behavior. Refusing to take responsibility for your reactions and choices is a sign of a pride issue.
9. You Are Jealous
If you often compare your life with other people, this could highlight a possible issue with pride. Rather than celebrating other people, you may find yourself thinking, “What about me?” On the outside, comparison may appear to be a matter of insecurity. However, if every time you interact with other people you think about yourself and what they have that you don’t, this is a form of self-centeredness. Instead, we should seek to applaud others while enjoying what the Lord has given us. Our journey is unique and shouldn’t be compared to anyone else. A jealous person, if not careful, can carry a sense of entitlement towards God and what they feel He must do for them. This is a dangerous place to be when it comes to our relationship with God.
“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” (James 3:16)
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10. You Are Inconsiderate
Being an inconsiderate person may not often be associated with pride. However, if you are expecting people to wait for you to arrive, to take care of your needs, to lend you money without paying it back, or to handle affairs you are responsible for, this reflects a failure to take other people into consideration. Those who are inconsiderate may expect that the nature of who they are entitles them to have others serve them. Yet, as children of God we are not called to find people who can serve us but to find opportunities to serve other people. If we have a general disregard of other people’s time, energy, or money, we are being selfish and will become a burden to those around us.
As you have read through these unexpected signs of pride, you may have felt convicted about certain areas of your life. Although it can be easy to ignore these newly learned ideas and assume these are simply a “part of your personality,” the Lord desires for us to grow in Him. As we are enlightened on ways we may be suffering with this destructive sin, we must seek to do the right thing, even when it is uncomfortable. The best way to make a change is to admit that this may be an area of weakness. Even in admitting the need for God to help you in this area, you are taking the first step to walk in humility.
“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” (1 Peter 5:5-6)
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Originally published Tuesday, 06 July 2021.