Pride

One of the search options that Google have developed is the Google Ngram viewer. This search allows you to look at words in books and their frequency that Google have stored on their mega brain somewhere in a cloud. The range in years is from 1800 – 2008 and whilst the data has been criticised, for just a quick look-see it is interesting.

I decided to ‘Ngram’ the words Pride and Honour, and what this returned was a downward curve starting up high in 1800 and then almost flat line in 2008. What this curve tells us is simply that in the last 200 years we are not that interested in discovering about pride or honour in literature.

If you look in the Bible you will find a lot of reference about pride in particular.
Proverbs has lots of wisdom saying that challenge the heart of pride and self ambition, verses like this one: ‘When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.’ Proverbs 11.2

In the last year I baptized two fellas in church. (Baptism in the church I was in is a dunking under water to make an outward witness to the new life you have discovered in Jesus*) These two guys stood up in front of the church and began to say why they wanted to be baptised. Both men said this: ‘Pride has held me back from being baptised, and I am laying that down today.’

For these guys, pride had held them back from following Jesus. I think this is common, even though we don’t read about it much anymore, pride can build a home in our hearts and shut us away from what really matters.

One of the most amazing counters to pride in the bible is when Jesus washes the feet of his mates, the disciples. Jesus was a communicator, speaker, he had a huge following, he was healing people, amazing people with his words and actions, he could have eaten out on just a handful of stories forever.

Instead of pride, instead of using self-worth as his image he flips this on its head and invests in the self-worth and identity of others. Humility has no better analogy or example as Jesus washing the feet of his mates.

What does that look like for us today? At work as we build our CV’s and perhaps wrestle others to stay on the right pay scale and promotion ladder. What does humility really look like in that place? Putting others first, intentionally seeking to serve, encourage and praise the wins of others.

Bit counter cultural that one, we exists in a ‘dog eat dog’ world, and perhaps that is why Google doesn’t have many books on it?

* Romans 6:3-6