18 Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18 (NLT)
In this article we shall study one of the most destructive force in the universe. It is called pride. What exactly is it? Let us look up to the dictionary to find out.
Main Entry: pride
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English prȳde, from prūd proud — more at proud
Date: before 12th century
1: the quality or state of being proud: as a: inordinate self-esteem : conceit b: a reasonable or justifiable self-respect c: delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship
2: proud or disdainful behavior or treatment : disdain
3 a: ostentatious display b: highest pitch : prime
4: a source of pride : the best in a group or class
5: a company of lions
6: a showy or impressive group
In short, it refers to seeing oneself as above everyone and everything else. It is dangerous to be caught in pride because it can cause us to overlook or ignore clues that could have saved us from impending dangers.
Proud people are all caught in the belief that they or their system is the best and is capable of overcoming every problem. Maybe they have been using a particular set of systems for many years and they worked perfectly. So, even when they see signs that, things are going wrong they choose to ignore the facts and continue to trust in their system. Pride has blinded them of the facts that the past variables that made their systems so effective in the past are no longer the same variables today. By the time they realize the truth, it is too late for them. They would have lost all their fortunes.
The most example we have on the above situation is the predicament of many multi-national financial institutions in the world today. Big names like AIG, RBS, Lehmen Brothers and Citibank used to give us the impression of invincibility but now they have fallen from their former glory. Lehmen Brothers has collapsed and the rest are under government bailout funded by their respective tax-payers. The ultimate question is what has caused such a drastic change in their fortunes? I believe the underlying reason is pride. These once powerful institutions are acting out Proverbs 16:18 in the real world.
Their past success must have made the management feel they are invincible. Each time they review their past records they must have seen profits piling up. Since there were little or no loss in their records, it is easy for them to ignore the existence of risk. In addition, since the salaries of the top management are linked to the profits of their companies, they will do everything they can to increase profits regardless of risk. In such a situation, many time bombs were created. It is only a matter of time for these bombs to blow up and the time has come. We are seeing the results today. I would like to say that we are indeed privileged to witness such events but this privilege will be useless unless we can learn from it.
The question here is how do we learn from it? First we need to know that pride comes from success. All of us like success. It is great to be successful. When we achieve success using one particular method, we will want to use the same method repeatedly to generate more success. This is common sense. However, we should not neglect revising the methods periodically and fix any bugs that we can find. It is crucial for us to keep reminding ourselves that only God’s Word is eternal, not the world’s systems. A certain system may work in a particular time and specific place but there is no guarantee that it will work at all times and all places.
Banks make a lot of money taking deposits from the public and lending them at higher interest rates to those who can afford to repay their loans. This method will not work if the banks choose to lend to those who cannot afford to repay their loans.
Insurance companies can make a lot of money in collection premiums to insure against the risks that they can understand and control. However, if they insure against the risks they know nothing about, they are digging their own graves.
The lesson for us here is we have to consistently and rigorously examine all our methods even if they had been working fine. Do not ignore signs of troubles because these signs can tell us a lot on how to improve our systems.
Finally, trust in God. The Word of God is the only unchanging thing in this world. Jesus had even said that heaven and earth may pass away but his words will still remain. It is the only thing, which we can rely on to help us to overcome every trial and bring us to prosperity. Do not let your pride get into your way of success and prosperity. Trust in God.