“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man... It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.”
- C.S. Lewis
When many of us think of pride, we usually picture someone with an inflated ego, an unbearable amount of high self-confidence, someone who can't be corrected, and thinks that they owe nothing to anybody. We probably know a few people like that. People with these qualities are the ones we often label as “self-centered” or “prideful". But what about those who view themselves as LESS than and constantly tear down their self-worth? Ironically, one with this attitude can be considered just as prideful as the person who has the huge ego.
If you really think about it, low self-esteem is part of self-centeredness and self-centeredness is a form of pride.
So even in speaking negatively of ourselves, we are putting our concerns before others. When we're tied up in how we're not like them, or how we're not doing this, or why we don't have that, or we have thoughts that we aren't enough.... It's self-centered thinking and at the end of the day, it is PRIDEFUL. On top of that, anything that we exalt over what GOD says, what His Word says, it's an idol. And we know that pride and arrogance is idolatry of the self.
So where does comparison come in?
Low self-esteem results from comparing yourself to others. Pride comes from comparing yourself to others. You can’t have one without the other.
So whether we're beating ourselves up or patting ourselves on the back, we're comparing ourselves.
"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:14 (The parable of the Pharisee & tax collector). And even in this parable, the prideful Pharisee was comparing himself with the tax collector. His pride blinded him to the true condition of his heart.
Pride is ruling our hearts when we compare ourselves with others; anytime we measure ourselves with the knowledge, appearance, character, gifts, abilities, wealth, possessions, status, personality, and circumstances of others... Or the LACK there of, it's all pride. Galatians 6:3-5 says, "If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions, then they can take pride in themselves alone, WITHOUT comparing themselves to someone else..."
In 2 Corinthians 10:12, we read, "Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding."
So yes, self-righteousness, arrogance and unsubmissiveness are forms of pride.
But so is self-pity, insecurity, jealousy and wanting to impress. Comparison, the joy stealer, is the root.
When we compare ourselves to others, we're taking the focus off of God, our Creator and Jesus, our standard.
Now of course there's 'good self-esteem', and the Bible even speaks about the good type of pride. But our focus should be on having Christ-esteem! Our worth comes from the Everlasting Father and He says we are precious, honored, and He loves us. That's more than enough. Coming from somebody who dealt with the spirit of comparison and constantly felt like I wasn’t enough, when you meditate on what CHRIST thinks of you, your vision changes. Our identity is anchored to our position (sonship) and purpose (glorify God) in Christ. He created us for HIS purpose. He made us in HIS image for HIS glory. It’s all about Him, not us. We have to repent and turn to God. He fixes our hearts and His Word renews our minds. And I can truly testify to that.
Proverbs 29:25 It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe.
Galatians 1:10 Am I saying this now to win the approval of people or God? Am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.