My pride feels overwhelming

Discussion in 'Personal Advice, Care & Prayers' started by Barnaby, Mar 31, 2024.

  1. Barnaby

    Barnaby Member

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    Hi all

    I am really struggling with the sin of pride. It permeates my whole life. I always want to be better than others, even if I keep it quiet. It manifests itself in several ways.

    A good example is that I give a certain amount in the collection plate and I know it's more than a lot of people do in our Church because I take the plate around! I start to feel pleased with myself and better than them. I know this is a wicked way to feel and I recognise that but the thought still comes to me from time to time and I fear this is how I feel about myself.

    I also realise that this pride has me on the rack about the way I share my faith with others. I am too proud to let my wife see me pray. I tell her I pray but I go into the spare room to do it. I feel uncomfortable kneeling in front of others who know me in a worldly context. When I talk about my faith I often mask the desperation and need of God that I felt and explain my reasons for belief in intellectual terms to avoid humbling myself before people, though I know full well the awful despair that actually drove me to Jesus in the first place.

    If someone parks inconsiderately making things difficult for me or cuts me off while driving I take this as a personal slight and react badly to some degree or other depending on how I'm feeling that day!

    I have truly come to understand the debilitating affects of pride in Christian living but I have been like this all my life about everything and have hidden my true feelings away to avoid appearing weak or stupid.

    I am really ashamed of this pride but I am struggling to shake it off. Is there anything that you would suggest I do to get rid of this. I pray and ask God for help but it's something that really troubles me a lot.

    Thank you for your advice
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2024
  2. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    Instead of asking God for help, put Matt 7:7&8 directly to him- and ask for an answer!

    “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
     
  3. Mere Theism

    Mere Theism New Member

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    You are definitely not the only one who struggles with this! Throughout my young life, I struggled with tremendous anxiety about my own pride and put all my effort into squeezing out every last ounce of pride from my being. Needless to say, that approach did not work very well for me.

    I have since come to understand that pride and shame are inversions of the same vice. Pride says "I am better, and I like the fact that I am better". Shame says "I am worse, and I hate the fact that I am worse." Both assign inflated value (positive or negative) to being awesome or being awful. Pride motivates me to want to hide from any self-criticism. Shame motivates me to muster my every effort to fixing what's wrong with me. Both are doomed to fail, because both are disordered.

    Humility is simply the acceptance of reality. "I am what I am; my strengths are my strengths; my sins are my sins." There is no over-valuation of being good or bad, being better or worse. Humility is what enables us to do the things we are good at doing virtuously, because it allows us to focus our care on the thing itself that we are doing rather than the fact that we are doing it. Humility is what enables us to truly confess our sins, because it allows us to accept the fact that we have sinned. I believe St. Teresa once said "I have become content to discover new imperfections in my heart daily." This is an expression of humility.

    Don't let the shame get you down! Maybe when you catch yourself sinning in this way, you could take it as an opportunity to slow down, notice these facts about your heart, and practice accepting reality and asking God for forgiveness. Don't try so hard to shake off your pride, but just try to grow in awareness of yourself. Start learning about the reasons why you feel the feelings you do. Let those parts of yourself that you keep hidden be present with you more often throughout the day, and let that be a part of your "praying without ceasing". God isn't just transcendent, He is immanent—present in every sliver of reality, and in the deepest pockets of our own souls. If you bring all of yourself in truth and humility before God (and remember, humility is not about thinking about how bad you are, it's about accepting who you really are), you may find that God will meet you there.

    Additionally, it may be helpful to know that anxiety and religious scrupulosity can sometimes be symptoms of other ailments, such as repressed trauma, an anxiety disorder, undiagnosed neurodiversity, or something else. Speaking with a mental health professional might offer some guidance about ways you could supplement your spiritual practice, such as therapy, medication, or even simple lifestyle changes to help manage anxiety.

    I hope that helps!
     
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  4. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I think it more likely that it's recurring attacks of scruples that are your problem. Pride is a far more serious condition than the examples you describe here.
    Most Anglican churches use collection bags which are designed to make it impossible for donators to see how much others are donating. This offering received during the service is only a free will thank offering anyway, most give in secret by standing order, their left hand not knowing what their right hand is doing. Feeling we are more generous than others comes from making comparisons out of ignorance of what others may be giving in secret, (in accordance with what our Master actually expects of us. Matt.6:3). A remedy might be to increase your standing order and put nothing at all in the collection plate so others might ignorantly and wrongly think you are mean and they the more generous? If you can do that you will have overcome your pride on that issue at least. Just don't make the same mistake that the Pharisee made. Luke 18:11-14
    I can't see why you are ashamed to follow the advice of our Master on this matter either. Praying does not require kneeling or grovelling to God. Jesus prayed standing up in public among his own disciples on more than one occasion. Matt. 11:25, John 11:41, Luke 10:21.
    Jesus is not impressed by grovelling obeisance and bemoaning regrets. He doesn't require it of us. Honesty is quite sufficient when called upon to relate the reason for our hope of salvation to others. 1 Pet.3:15
    You're telling us, but we already know. Yours is the human condition of all sinners, and we have not only ALL sinned, we all continue to be inclined to do so. It is by God's grace alone that we can sometimes overcome the tendency. When we don't, and that may be often, we should listen to the voice of conscience implanted by The Holy Spirit. Admit we have failed and then resolve to do better, treating it as a lesson in humility and a reminder of our continuing need of a saviour. John 16:13.
    You, me and the rest of us mate. You're not special. Rom.3:21-24
    Just be thankful that you haven't yet been tested and tried like Peter was, and shown how fatuous pride in our own ability really is. Matt.26:75
    .
     
  5. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    I'll have to agree whole heartedly with Tiffy here. Take his advice instead of mine(post #2).
     
  6. Barnaby

    Barnaby Member

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    "I think it more likely that it's recurring attacks of scruples that are your problem. Pride is a far more serious condition than the examples you describe here."

    I'm not really sure what you mean by this. Please could you expand a little? If you could this might be genuinely helpful.

    "Most Anglican churches use collection bags which are designed to make it impossible for donators to see how much others are donating. This offering received during the service is only a free will thank offering anyway, most give in secret by standing order, their left hand not knowing what their right hand is doing. Feeling we are more generous than others comes from making comparisons out of ignorance of what others may be giving in secret, (in accordance with what our Master actually expects of us. Matt.6:3). A remedy might be to increase your standing order and put nothing at all in the collection plate so others might ignorantly and wrongly think you are mean and they the more generous? If you can do that you will have overcome your pride on that issue at least. Just don't make the same mistake that the Pharisee made. Luke 18:11-14"

    Well yes, the question I am asking is how you would deal with the excessive pride involved, and not manage the situation. Do you have any suggestions as to practical way I could deal with the issue I'm experiencing? I have a feeling the issue isn't the mechanics of giving but my spiritual immaturity. I don't know that changing the system I used would help in the way I mean.

    "I can't see why you are ashamed to follow the advice of our Master on this matter either. Praying does not require kneeling or grovelling to God. Jesus prayed standing up in public among his own disciples on more than one occasion. Matt. 11:25, John 11:41, Luke 10:21."

    Granted what you say is true but grovelling or that stuff, isn't really my issue. Not sure where you are inferring this from my post? The praying issue is that I am ashamed. I mean I know I shouldn't be and I don't know why I am so embarrassed. That's why I'm asking.

    "You, me and the rest of us mate. You're not special. Rom.3:21-24"
    Oops! Alright but I wasn't suggesting I was particularly "special". Errm thanks? :D:D

    Truly, I'm grateful for you responding but I feel maybe you've misread my post. My problem isn't that I'm not already aware of everything you are saying. I could really do with some suggestions as to how to deal with these issues. I am well able to see it for what it is but it seems I'm stuck with it at the moment.

    But thank you for your reply. I appreciate your time.
     
  7. Barnaby

    Barnaby Member

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    Thank you most kindly for this. There's a lot of good advice here and I will certainly act on it. :)

    I know what you mean about the inversions of the same vice. It is something I have come to understand in the last couple of years. I like the "slowing down and noticing" idea.

    I don't feel I am particuarly plagued by anxiety but I can't help but wonder if there are particular practices or routines people have developed or adopted that have helped them in similar situations, of feeling a bit overwhelmed by their pride - or other vices I guess, but this is the one that gets me most.
     
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Pride, according to what we might ascertain from scripture, is the predominant characteristic of Satan the accuser, the enemy of God. It is essentially an attitude of proud independence of and arrogant disdain of God and God's sovereignty. Is. 14:12-14, (Though this is written referring to a man not to Satan, it epitomises the sin of pride which we believe is characteristic of Satan. ) The human race is also subject to pride and it exhibits itself as opposition to God a disdain for God's sovereignty. Rom. 1:21-23

    I don't think any of your supposed examples could be defined as coming competitively anywhere near to that.
    My suggestion was that you increase your 'invisible' giving and allow others to think you give nothing. This would teach you humility, not caring what others might think of you and thus avoiding the sin of proudly trying to encourage others to notice and praise your supposed bountiful generosity. If you find yourself unable to do this, you will have no reason to proudly think yourself more generous than others, and so will have overcome your reasons for feeling pride in your own achievements, through lack of achieving what I suggest. If you do achieve what I suggest you do, then it will not be obvious to others that you ARE generous, in fact you will appear less generous than others, so you cannot be tempted to feel prideful about it anymore. Thus your collection plate pride problem should be solved either way!
    Stop trying to impress God with your 'shame'. You are forgiven, get over it. The person who should rightly BE ashamed is dead and gone, (in baptism into Christ), you are now 'alive' only IN HIM. Dead men don't feel shame. If you still are ashamed of yourself your life is not yet fully hidden with Christ in God. Col.3:3. Kneel in private, say the sinners prayer, invite the Holy Spirit into your whole life, pledge obedience to Christ, turn from your sins and turn to Christ - thus make quite sure that the dead man who was once you, no longer walks, talks or feels ashamed when tempted to sin, but fights back with the Power of the Holy Spirit. 2 Tim.1:7
    Sorry, badly worded. You ARE special, to God, and those who love you, but you are not unique in that you are still a redeemed sinner just like the rest of us redeemed sinners. You're not the only human being struggling with their own imperfection.
    I've made a couple of suggestions. Perhaps you've already done the 'sinners prayer thing' long ago, I'm guessing you are much further along the discipleship path than that, but if it is something you have not formally and consciously yet done on your faith journey, I suggest you find somewhere totally private like our Master habitually did, Mark 1:35. Speak to God about it right out loud, even shout at Him. Tell HIM your problem and let HIM give you the answer to it, (from the words of your own mouth, talk it over with God, think it all through, see what He says). God is faithful, ask and you shall receive. Matt.7:7.
     
  9. Annie Grace

    Annie Grace Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't sound to me like you have DONE anything wrong, rather you FEEL bad things, which is a totally different kettle of fish in my mind. I agree with the scruples diagnosis and suggest you follow Bob Newhart's advice in this video.

     
  10. Barnaby

    Barnaby Member

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    Thank you both for your replies.

    I have given this a bit of thought lately and you're right; when satan accuses me I'm listening to him. I accept that I am forgiven and that there's nothing I can do to make myself worthy of this, that the work has already been done by Jesus. I have spent a lifetime witnessing the consequences of my sinning and it hasn't been pretty, and when you've only got yourself to depend on, it's hard not to feel the shame. I have lived in my own thoughts for decades and it's something I need to move from and live in the Reality of my life now.

    Prayer is something I admit to but prefer not to be watched. It's a very private thing for me and I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I don't feel that standing in my garden praying would be all that helpful. Yes, I have indeed prayed the sinners' prayer and asked for forgiveness and I know I am forgiven.

    Tiffy, I get what you mean about not being unique. I know it, but it's helpful to hear it from someone else. Thank you.

    My own thoughts are also something I need to stop listening to, and I am working on immersing myself in Christ and His Love.

    I guess it helped me to spew it all out and thank you for reading and giving me some perspective.
     
  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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