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The Dangers of Pride and Offense
by stephanie reck
4/01/2014 / Christian Living
Pride is one of the most dangerous sins. Pride comes from not knowing where your worth and value comes from, and finding the need to defend who you think you are to others. Offense comes when we need to defend ourselves, or others hurt us in some way; intentional and often times not intentional.
Dictionary.com defines pride as a high inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority.
Synonym for pride: humility
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines pride as a feeling that you respect yourself and DESERVE to be respected by others. Another definition is a feeling that you are more important or better than other people.
Dictionationary.com defines offense as something that offends or displeases.
Synonyms for offense: resentment, wrath, indignation, aggression.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines offense as something that causes a person to be hurt, angry, or upset.
Are you dealing with pride? Take a look at the following list and ask the Holy Spirit to uncover any of these to you.
Harshness: Other people's sins are spoken with judgment and with conviction. You see other's weaknesses and expose them more than you do cover them in prayer and God's grace and mercy. Very ridged and religious/legalistic.
Fault-Finding: Instead of applying grace and mercy to others sins and weakness, one may instead condemn, accuse, ridicule, and criticize that person's sins and/or weaknesses.
Offense: You are easily hurt and sensitive to what others say to you, about you, and how they react to you. An example would be: You may get offended if someone does not return your call, not realizing they may be unable to call right then. It is important to give others the benefit of the doubt.
Perfectionism: You have unrealistic expectations for yourself, others, and even God at times. You tend to expect others to live up to the very high standard that you impose on yourself.
Jealousy/Comparing: We believe we deserve what others have, and believe we should not have to suffer as much.
Pretense: This means acting one way at home and when you get around certain people or your church you act "all-together and perfect," but at home you let lose to your "true self." Or this meaning could be having an outward appearance of Godliness but the inside is corrupt, sinful, or unrighteous in some way.
Anger: Prideful people are easily upset by the least-littlest things, and are easily agitated and annoyed by others. Lack grace and mercy for other's faults and short-comings.
Believing you are more special, more gifted or more spiritual: The reality is none of us can doing anything on our own merit, it is only by the power of Jesus Christ that we can accomplish anything or have gifts. We are not to abuse our spiritual gifts, if we have the gift of discernment or prophecy, we should not have an "air" about us that thinks we know more, and we know what is wrong with every person and with every situation because we can discern. Yes, God has given the body of Christ gifts, but they are not to be used pridefully and abusively. We are still human, and it is possible we were wrong about a situation or a person.
Difficulty admitting when you are wrong and difficulty apologizing: Have trouble admitting your weaknesses, failures, and when you are in the wrong. Want to be right and have the last word. Also, have difficulty apologizing and especially apologizing first.
Haughtiness: You just believe you are better, your ways are better and ALWAYS right, and others are not as gifted, talented, or accomplished as you are. Or you feel like you could do a better job than others, whatever that job might be.
Now let's look at what scripture says about being prideful:
God resist the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6; 1Peter 5:5)
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18).
A man's pride will bring him low in wisdom but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit. (Proverbs 29:23).
Those that walk in pride shall be abased. (Daniel 4:37).
Now let's take a look at the destruction that offense can cause. Offense has divided churches, families, and friendships. If we are offended with someone we must immediately forgive and let go of the offense, otherwise it will turn into bitterness. If bitterness seeps into the spirit, it will destroy the fruit of the spirit in your live. It may be important to go that person who offended you and talk it out, perhaps it was a big misunderstanding. Offense can come when you have been treated unjustly or you believe you have been treated unjustly.
Skandalise is a Greek word for offense, meaning to put a stumbling block in the way.
Some characteristics of people who have been offended:
Hyper-sensitive, touchy, spiritually immature, lacking in mercy and grace and prideful.
Humble people cannot get offended so easily, and if they do it does not last very long. They let it "roll off their backs." If you become offended you can harbor the offense; which can lead to bitterness. Bitterness is poisonous to your soul.
Steps to overcoming pride and offense:
Take the mask off and see your faults, weaknesses, and your own sins. Admit them to God and ask God to forgive you. Take your eyes off every else's sins and weakness and instead look to your own first, and instead of exposing other's sin's and weakness cover them in prayer. Stop judging others and finding fault with them. It is a lot easier to judge others then to look at our own sin and weakness.
Develop and pursue gratefulness in your life. If you are truly grateful for your life, then you won't have time to pick apart others and you will realize that it will lead to a lack of joy and peace in your life.
Honor other's gifts, talents, and abilities. Don't try and compete with them or compare yourself to them.
Know that you have weakness and you will make mistakes, and so will others. Apply grace and mercy to yourself and to others. Do not live up to being a perfectionist and don't expect others to either. You will never be perfect, nor will others.
Give others the benefit of the doubt. Don't rush to conclusions about why they mistreated or hurt you. Forgive as many times as it takes, until all bitterness is rooted out. Be at ease with others, realizing they are most likely trying their best as you are. Lighten up!
Match your outward self to your inward self. Get rid of all pretense. Who you are in public should match who you are in private. No hypocrisy.
Learn humility. You are not always right, know everything, can do everything, and know what is best for everybody. Humble people are not prideful and do not easily get offended.
Listen more than you talk. If you constantly interrupt others, give unsolicited advice, or talk more than you listen, then it is time to be quiet and listen instead. It may just be you do not have the answer to their every problem and know how to solve their issues. Most of the time people just want someone to listen to them.
Don't feel like you have to defend yourself. Take criticism constructively, and if criticism is not given constructively then you humble yourself and don't personalize it. Let it go. You can tell the person who criticized you, gently and calmly say that "What they said hurt you."
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Read more articles by stephanie reck
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