This year for Lent I am teaching through the ‘seven deadly sins’ at Morgantown Community Church. Yesterday, I talked about the sin that is often called ‘the root’ of all sin: pride. I had so much content that I wanted to teach, but alas, I didn’t think I could convince everyone to sit through an hour and a half teaching. So, this week on the blog I will share some of the content that I couldn’t fit into the teaching. My hope is, whether you are part of MCC or not, to create space for us to talk about pride, and all the ways it insidiously, even unconsciously, can gain a strangle-hold on us, wrecking our lives and relationships in the process. Today I want to share an insightful quote from William Willimon’s book, Sinning Like a Christian, in which he works through the ‘seven deadly sins’.
Willimon talks about the ways in which we have transformed pride, from being the deadliest of vices, into a virtue that is celebrated. He writes,
“It is not an overstatement to say that Pride has moved from being the chief of the Seven, the root of much evil, to being the root of all virtue, a positive good to be lovingly practiced and cultivated. Pride has been rehabilitated from being a vice to be avoided and has become a great virtue to be cultivated…”
Now, I assume there is a difference between what Willimon is talking about and giving your best effort to your work. Taking ‘pride’ in a job well-done can mean that you work with excellence, to the best of your ability, and find joy and satisfaction in doing that.
That is commendable.
Allowing that ‘pride’ to make you feel superior, better-than, or worth more…that is deadly, destructive pride rearing its ugly head. Pride, at its core, is isolation. Pride makes so much of us, that no room is left for others–not even God. Making that into a virtue…is a path toward relational destruction.
So, what do you think?
Have we ‘rehabilitated’ pride, to our own hurt?
What might the consequences be of transforming pride from a deadly vice into a lovely virtue?