By Nancy Virden (c)2022
The famous literary genius C. S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity among many other works, was briefly married before his wife died of cancer. He was left with her two sons to whom he had become a father. Douglas Gresham, a successful creative in his own right, tells a story from his childhood with Lewis.*
During dinner one evening, 12-year-old Douglas suddenly blurted, “You know, I think my greatest sin will be pride.”
C.S., whom the family called Jack, replied with a twinkle in his eye, “Yes son. I believe you may be right.”
We confuse self-esteem and the ability to know oneself and feel appreciative with the negative attitude of pride. Instead of limiting sinful pride to the cocky, entitled self-absorption that it is, we use the word as a catch-all for almost any disliked behavior or opinion from others. “She believes such and such- how arrogant.”
If Person A says “I am happy with who I am,” Person B can embrace that joy or accuse Person A of being prideful. In my experience, it is often the latter. Self-assurance as a gift from God is not to be soiled with the label “pride.”
Neither is admitting achievement. Hearing an excited shout from a winner is not the same as a sore-winner’s prideful comparison to those who did not win. There is a difference between “I succeeded and am proud of my hard work” and “I am a success and deserve more success while others do not.”
The healthy self-esteem of any disciple of Jesus thinks like this: I am becoming the kind of person God desires me to be. He has deemed me worthy of his love although I have not and cannot earn it. He has gifted me with innate talents to use to show His glory. I am fulfilled, productive, and expectant of eternity with Him because of his steadfast love.
It is not selfish or stuck-up pride that recognizes God’s choice to love us. It is not boastful to confess his excellent work in our hearts. To use our unique God-given talents is to show off our divine Creator’s creative skills. If we are not bragging, “I did this without God or anyone else,” then we are probably not obnoxiously prideful.
Douglas Gresham went on to say that years later, he was “forced to eat an enormous quantity of humble pie which although doesn’t taste good is very nutritious to the soul”. He recognized he had been living “entirely on pride, conceit, and arrogance,” had made a mess of life, and desperately needed to turn himself over to Jesus.
You will not hear him deny his successes, but he no longer takes credit for his intellect or innate gifts. That is the difference between healthy self-esteem and foolish pride.
Today’s Helpful Word
Proverbs 11:2 AMP
When pride comes [boiling up with an arrogant attitude of self-importance], then come dishonor and shame, But with the humble [the teachable who have been chiseled by trial and who have learned to walk humbly with God] there is wisdom and soundness of mind.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
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*Stepson of C.S. Lewis, Douglas Gresham, interviewed by Derick Bingham. Retrieved 89/2/22 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlPHK2VHoUE