Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pride vs God

All of us have a certain degree of pride, when it comes down to our successes, achievements, looks, goals in life, possessions etc. However, how does Christianity understand this reality? Does this contradict with our communion and relation with God? Is it a great sin? C.S. Lewis gives an interesting exegesis:

‘As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.
That raises a terrible question. How is it that people who are quite obviously eaten up with Pride can say they believe in God and appear to themselves very religious? I am afraid it means they are worshipping an imaginary God. They theoretically admit themselves to be nothing in the presence of this phantom God, but are really all the time imagining how He approves of them and thinks them far better than ordinary people: that is, they pay a pennyworth of imaginary humility to Him and get out of it a pound’s worth of Pride towards their fellow-men. I suppose it was of those people Christ was thinking when He said that some would preach about Him and cast out devils in His name, only to be told at the end of the world that He had never known them. And any of us may at any moment be in this death trap. Luckily we have a test. Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good – above all, that we are better than someone else – I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether.
For Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.’[1]

[1] Lewis, C.S., Mere Christianity, (London, Collins, 2012), pp.124-125.  

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