When pride feels like humility and humility looks like pride

Both of these descriptions speak to the issue of pride. Love and pride are enemies and cannot both rule in a person’s life at the same time. So, when you see a braggart, someone who is arrogant and obviously full of himself, you find a person whose heart has not yet been given over to genuine love.

Pride can manifest itself quite openly or rather subtly. Open pride most often appears as arrogance and boasting in what one has or has done. But there is a more subtle way that pride works, too. You can express it by always bringing the conversation back to yourself—what you have done or experienced, so that the focus is on your accomplishments. That is the open, flagrant side of pride.

But, you know, there is a shadow side of pride as well. It is usually pretty easy to recognize the pride of arrogance and boasting, even when it is subtly expressed. But the shadow side of pride is less obvious. It is not arrogance or boastfulness. Rather, it is self-pity. Rather than calling attention to our accomplishments, the pride of self-pity calls attention to our pain and how badly we feel.

Arrogance says, “Look at what I have done, applaud me!” Self-pity says, “Look at how much I hurt, comfort me.” But both of them say, “Look at me!” And do you know what the antidote for both is? LOVE. Love doesn’t parade itself and it is not puffed up. That is, real love for others will keep you from being consumed with yourself; you won’t be too impressed with your achievements (nor encourage others to be) and you won’t be consumed by your hurts and pain.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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