I’m usually annoyed by people who confess their “sin of pride.” I know that’s a terrible thing to say, but I have rarely encountered what I felt was an earnest confession from someone dealing with pride. Maybe it’s because I’ve been around angst-ridden college students for the past decade in a lot of large group Bible studies. So it seems to me that pride is the sin you admit to “struggling with” when you have to share your sins with a group. Here’s why:
- You sound like you’re doing so well at morality. When people hear that your current struggle is “pride,” they immediately believe that you’ve got the sex thing under control, that the alcohol/party thing is no issue, that greed has nothing on you. Yep, it’s just pride in your heart. That means you’re one step away from holiness!
- It’s so emo. You can tear yourself apart for thoughts you have! You can let people know there’s sin in you that they can’t see! You’re so deep.
- It’s an easy sin to admit to and not have to deal with.
Why do I feel this way about pride confessors? Because I am one. Or I was one before vowing that I wouldn’t be one anymore. Then of course I became prideful about how I am always annoyed by confessions of pride.
What I’m trying to say is this: Pride is a monster who lives in my brain. He takes over all my most genuine moments and tells me I’m the coolest person in the room. And because the monster lives in me, I can never really talk about him with complete purity. No matter what, there are always motives underneath my most meaningful confessions. I do want you to think I’m deep. I do want you to think he’s the only monster, when in fact, he’s just the one who shows up most often.
This morning in Mom’s Group when a woman brought up Lent and asked us about our current Lenten practices and I jumped in like I own the whole “contemplative” world and yakked about the Examination of Conscience and how I love the liturgical calendar, I wish I had spoken of those things in sincerity, with kindness, without showing how vain I am–even when it comes to prayer. I didn’t. There’s a fine line between genuine excitement over an idea and egotism. It feels like I walk in an out of that line all day long.
So, driving home from Mom’s Group with August in the back seat, in between singing his favorite song (with the motions) in my usual Wednesday attempt to keep him from falling asleep in the car before lunch, I had that sudden moment of clarity, that feeling of yuck. I saw myself as I really am. I saw the monster winning.
Friends, I think this blog is going to be a really great thing. But I’m just putting this out there: I’m vain. And if you read it and hear the monster yakking, I hope you’ll give me grace.