A Difficult Thing to Learn

So much time is spent confessing sins of pride. What does it all mean?

You were born into the world with nothing. Your body was chosen for you, your traits were bestowed upon you by your circumstances, and everything you have ever done was done with the things that you were given. How can we be proud of anything in the way that we call sinful? How can anything be said to have originated with us?

Pride is defined as an inordinately high opinion, or excessive love, of oneself. Moreover, I believe that it involves feeling that one is the sole creator of one’s own worth—that we can “take credit” for it. It can plainly be seen that this is not true, so why do we behave as if it is? It’s almost a difficult thing to do, if you’re thinking straight. Perhaps we do it because it lends justification to the remaining balance of our actions, which might otherwise be judged as immoral, if we were not entitled to commit them. It may be nothing more than a disguised form of greed.

Cases have been made for each of the other Cardinal Sins. Greed is the way to prosperity, lust is just a bit of fun that need not be denied, envy is what you feel because you deserved it, wrath is what they get because they deserved it, gluttony is the fulfillment of basic desires, and sloth is just no big deal. Pride is the only sin on the list that, in its full-fledged state, involves a delusion—a denial of verifiable fact.

You may have a hard time mounting a logical argument against the bulk of your temptations, but it need not be so with pride. You may indeed be more valuable, practically speaking, than some other people. You may have talents and good looks that they don’t have. But it should not be so difficult to suppress that glowing feeling that you created yourself, because you didn’t.


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