Pride is a most abominable sin, but hardly anyone recognizes
it since it is hidden deep in the heart. Not knowing one's self is the
beginning of pride. This ignorance blinds a man, and thus he becomes full of
pride. O that man would know himself! He would know his own misfortune,
poverty, and wretchedness; he would never become full of pride. But man is so
wretched that he does not see and know his misfortune and wretchedness.
Pride is known by its deeds as a tree is known by
its fruits. But let us see what are the fruits of the bitter seed of pride:
1. A proud man seeks honor, glory, and praise by
every means. He always desires to appear as something, and to direct, command,
and rule others. But he is powerfully angered and embittered at whoever may
prevent his desire.
2. He complains, he is displeased, and he curses
when deprived of honor and leadership. "What have I done wrong? Why am I
at fault? Is this what my labors and service merit?" It often drives a man
to kill himself.
3. He begins labors that are beyond his strength
which he is not able to manage. O man! Why do you take up burdens which you
4. Out of his self-will he interferes in the
affairs of others. He desires to direct everyone and everywhere, though he
himself does not know what he is doing, so greatly is he blinded by pride.
5. He boasts of himself shamelessly and exalts
himself. "I did thus and so. I rendered such and such service to
society." O man! You enumerate your services, but why do you not mention
your shortcomings? While it is shameful for you to proclaim those, you should
also be ashamed to praise yourself.
6. He looks down on and humiliates other people.
"He is a base man, he is useless," and so on. O man! He is a man just
as you are, for we are all men. He is a sinner, yes, but I think that you
cannot deny that name either. He transgressed in something, or is a sinner, but
you, too, in another way, or perhaps in the same way. "For all have
sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).
7. He does not submit, he does not obey his
authorities and his parents. The proud have a stiff and unbending neck. They
always wish to establish and execute the will of their desires.
8. The goods that they have they ascribe to
themselves, to their own efforts and labors, and not to God. O man! What can
you have of your own self, who came naked out of your mother's womb? What can
you have should God, the source of all good, not give it to you? What can our
effort and labor accomplish without His help, Who alone is able do all things,
and without Whom everyone is as nothing, as a shadow without a body?
9. He greatly dislikes reproach and admonition. He
thinks himself pure, though he be all sullied.
10. He is impatient, is displeased, complains, and
often even curses when in destruction, in contempt, in misfortunes and
11. He displays haughtiness and is somewhat
pompous, etc. in word and deed. These are the fruits of pride, hateful to God
and man. The fruits which it engenders are bitter. "For that which is
highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God" (Lk.
16:15). Wherefore it is also written, "For whosoever exalteth himself
shall be abased" (Lk. 14:11).
The virtue opposed to pride is humility. But as
far as pride is loathsome and abominable, so welcome and lovely is humility to
God and men. God Who is great and exalted looks on nothing so lovely as on a
humble and compunctionate heart. Whence even the Most Holy Theotokos says of
herself, "For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden" (Lk.
When pride retreats from a man, humility begins to
dwell in him, and the more pride is diminished, so much more does humility grow.
The one gives way to the other as to its opposite. Darkness departs and light
appears. Pride is darkness, but humility is light.
As we consider our own selves and come to know our
misfortune and wretchedness, we shall have reason enough to be humble. We are
born naked and with a cry. We live in calamity, misfortune, and sins. We die
with fear, disease, and sighing. We are buried in the earth and return to the
earth. There it is not evident where the rich man lies, where the poor, where
the noble and where the lowly, where the master and where the servant, where
the wise and where the foolish. There they are all made equal, for they all
return to the earth. Why, then, should earth and corruption be conceited?
Beloved Christians! Let us know our misfortune and
wretchedness, and "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of
God, that He may exalt you in due time" (1 Pet. 5:6). Let us know,
beloved, that we Christians are Christ's, Who is meek and humble of heart. It
is a shameful thing, and very unbecoming of Christians, to be full of pride
when Christ, God great and exalted, humbled Himself. It is a shameful thing for
servants to be proud when their Master is humble. There is nothing as
unbecoming and indecent of Christians as pride, and nothing shows a Christian
as much as humility.
From humility it is known that a man is a true
disciple of Jesus, meek and humble of heart. If we wish to show evidence that
we are true Christians, let us learn from Christ to be humble as He Himself
enjoins us, "Learn of Me; for I am meek, and lowly in heart" (Mt.
11:29). Let us engrave and deepen in our memory the saying of the Apostle now
explained, "For God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the
humble" (1 Pet. 5:6).
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