Underrated

1 Jun

A high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct…is known as pride.
I’m sitting in my living room, thinking and for the life of me I cannot conjure up a perfect opening for this piece I feel compelled to write for my own sake. I was going to write about the death penalty, but the words to write it wouldn’t come. So if you’re reading this hoping to learn about my opinion of that; I’m sorry, but you’ll just have to wait.  What am I writing about this time around? Pride.
I’m wrapped up in it and sometimes it controls me and when I look back on certain times in my life I see that pride had taken hold of my heart and instead of following what I should have done. I did what separated me from others, and saved me from potential hurt. 
That in my humble opinion is pride. Taking into account only our own personal interests, considering how we might be perceived over what the other person needs; that is pride. I do it all the time and it disconnects me from people—I’m sick and tired of it. This piece is an attempt to remove some pride and I guess, expose myself for the person I am or who at least I should be. If I’m following the template of the world, I would be a person who is wrapped up in my own success, considering my own flaws and wondering how I can be the best. This world is very “I” orientated if you’ve not noticed and its basis is pride.
We are so wrapped up in ourselves, constantly thinking about how we’ll look to others, whether they think we’re great, or whether they consider us to be complete fools. We are constantly thinking about the next best thing, working to build up our own repertoire of wins.
Let me put it to you this way, the “p” word is one-up-man-ship. In a conversation about accomplishments, you don’t necessarily realize it, but you are trying to put yourself above the other person and you don’t even know you’re doing it do you? Of course not, because it’s inherent in your human nature to do so. A conversation becomes about what a person can hide about themselves to keep themselves apart from the other. That person who hides the most—wins.
What’s the prize? Nothing. Their pride is preserved and they’re seen as strong, above knowing.
I’ll give you a real life example, in an attempt to rid myself of pride, and be vulnerable; I’m going to be very honest.  I’m in a conversation with a fellow, whom I’ve known for a bit, and he’s a wonderful person, but I can’t let him know I think this. I can’t show it, because I have this horrible pride. And if I show what I think, how I feel; it would mean that I’m bare, and so very vulnerable—up to his scrutiny. Plus it would also mean I’ve given in. To what? I don’t know. But that’s my pride shining through like there’s no tomorrow.
What happens after that conversation with that particularly wonderful fellow? Nothing, he leaves unsuspecting and I walk away, kicking myself for not being who I truly am and I move on, until the next conversation. The cycle repeats itself.
Let me ask you a question. Is it right that I let my pride rule my behavior instead of smiling and honestly voicing my opinion?  Instead of being open, pride closes me and instead of showing that I care, I appear aloof and indifferent because I can’t show that I care. Why? Because I don’t want to get hurt. Of course this is valid, but I’m put to shame when I read about a certain occurrence in the Bible.
In the account of the crucifixion, God willingly gave his son. W.C. Placher writes in his essay titled “The Vulnerable God” that God is (as the title suggests) vulnerable. He gave his son, even with the knowledge that we might reject the gift; throw it back in his face. According to Placher, God freely loves and in love is willing to be vulnerable in pain and risk suffering to give us the freedom of love.
Vulnerability is—in my opinion—an underrated concept. It does not make you weak. Where pride fails you, love gives you freedom and vulnerability lets you love. At a recent Bible study, we discussed this: God is love, God never fails and therefore love never fails either. So, then if we’re giving love, we’re not failing. Often giving love entails being vulnerable; giving a piece of your heart to another person, hoping that they’ll take it and cherish it. Not throw it on the ground spitting on it. Then if we’re vulnerable, we’re not failing our call to love and seek after God’s own heart, because we’re putting our pride aside.
Of course there is grey matter to every seemingly black and white situation, but here in this case it’s simple. We are to love; we are to strive to be vulnerable, following God’s example. And when you consider it deeply, being vulnerable means taking a risk. For a person to be vulnerable, they need courage, perseverance and strength. Giving yourself means you might be rejected, it means you might be heartbroken. In the end it’s you letting go of your ugly pride and being real.
At this point I have a conclusion; it is simply a challenge to all reading this—and myself. Let’s be vulnerable, throw away our pride, and love as God freely loves—with complete abandon.  Can we do it?
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