- Every mortal has at least a casual if not intimate relationship with the sin of pride. No one has avoided it; few overcome it. When I told my wife that this would be the topic of my talk, she smiled and said, “It is so good that you talk about things you know so much about.”
Other Meanings of Pride
President Uchtdorf shares that there are righteous things things we can be proud of. It was common for some time that members of the church didn't use the word "proud" as they misunderstood the message that President Benson delivered. He points out things that we can all be proud of.
- I believe there is a difference between being proud of certain things and being prideful. I am proud of many things. I am proud of my wife. I am proud of our children and grandchildren. I am proud of the youth of the Church, and I rejoice in their goodness. I am proud of you, my dear and faithful brethren. I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as a bearer of the holy priesthood of God.
Pride Is the Sin of Self-Elevation
- At its core, pride is a sin of comparison, for though it usually begins with “Look how wonderful I am and what great things I have done,” it always seems to end with “Therefore, I am better than you.” When our hearts are filled with pride, we commit a grave sin, for we violate the two great commandments. Instead of worshipping God and loving our neighbor, we reveal the real object of our worship and love—the image we see in the mirror. Pride is the great sin of self-elevation. It is for so many a personal Rameumptom, a holy stand that justifies envy, greed, and vanity. In a sense, pride is the original sin, for before the foundations of this earth, pride felled Lucifer, a son of the morning “who was in authority in the presence of God.” If pride can corrupt one as capable and promising as this, should we not examine our own souls as well?
Pride Has Many Faces
- This sin has many faces. It leads some to revel in their own perceived self-worth, accomplishments, talents, wealth, or position. They count these blessings as evidence of being “chosen,” “superior,” or “more righteous” than others. This is the sin of “Thank God I am more special than you.” At its core is the desire to be admired or envied. It is the sin of self-glorification.
The Laboratory of Sports
- I have watched sports fans vilify and demonize their rivals. They look for any flaw and magnify it. They justify their hatred with broad generalizations and apply them to everyone associated with the other team. When ill fortune afflicts their rival, they rejoice. Brethren, unfortunately we see today too often the same kind of attitude and behavior spill over into the public discourse of politics, ethnicity, and religion.
- As priesthood bearers, we must realize that all of God’s children wear the same jersey. Our team is the brotherhood of man. This mortal life is our playingfield. Our goal is to learn to love God and to extend that same love toward our fellowman. We are here to live according to His law and establish the kingdom of God. We are here to build, uplift, treat fairly, and encourage all of Heavenly Father’s children.
We Must Not Inhale
President James E. Faust shared some advice with President Uchtdorf shortly after he was called as a General Authority.
- President Faust took the time to teach me some important principles about my assignment. He explained also how gracious the members of the Church are, especially to General Authorities. He said, “They will treat you very kindly. They will say nice things about you.” He laughed a little and then said, “Dieter, be thankful for this. But don’t you ever inhale it.” That is a good lesson for us all, brethren, in any calling or life situation. We can be grateful for our health, wealth, possessions, or positions, but when we begin to inhale it—when we become obsessed with our status; when we focus on our own importance, power, or reputation; when we dwell upon our public image and believe our own press clippings—that’s when the trouble begins; that’s when pride begins to corrupt.
Having the Priesthood requires us to serve others. President Uchtdorf reminds us that we need to serve others and rely on God to fill our inadequacies.
- We are servants of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are not given the priesthood so that we can take our bows and bask in praise. We are here to roll up our sleeves and go to work. We are enlisted in no ordinary task. We are called to prepare the world for the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We seek not our own honor but give praise and glory to God. We know that the contribution we can make by ourselves is small; nevertheless, as we exercise the power of the priesthood in righteousness, God can cause a great and marvelous work to come forth through our efforts. We must learn, as Moses did, that “man is nothing” by himself but that “with God all things are possible.”
Jesus Christ Is the Perfect Example of Humility
- Brethren, we hold “the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God.” It is the power God has granted to men on earth to act for Him. In order to exercise His power, we must strive to be like the Savior. This means that in all things we seek to do the will of the Father, just as the Savior did. It means that we give all glory to the Father, just as the Savior did. It means that we lose ourselves in the service of others, just as the Savior did.
He reminds us that the power of the priesthood can't be handled by unrighteousness.
- Pride is a switch that turns off priesthood power. Humility is a switch that turns it on.
Be Humble and Full of Love
He concludes with several comments that summarize his thought.
- It is almost impossible to be lifted up in pride when our hearts are filled with charity. When we see the world around us through the lens of the pure love of Christ, we begin to understand humility.
- We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves.
- Humility directs our attention and love toward others and to Heavenly Father’s purposes. Pride does the opposite. Pride draws its energy and strength from the deep wells of selfishness. The moment we stop obsessing with ourselves and lose ourselves in service, our pride diminishes and begins to die.
He concludes with a comment that demonstrates how we will act when we are free of this unrighteous pride.
- When our heart is in the right place, we do not complain that our assigned task is unworthy of our abilities. We gladly serve wherever we are asked. When we do this, the Lord can use us in ways beyond our understanding to accomplish His work.
I appreciate the comment that "We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves." Sometimes I have mistakenly thought that I needed to put myself down or not be grateful for the blessings that God has given me. Instead, I think what I have learned is that humility comes through using the blessings that I have been given to help others. I am far from being prideful, but in my desire to become a better disciple of Jesus Christ, I am learning to use my blessings to help others find the love that Christ has for them. Our purpose in life to to bring ourselves to God, ready to worthily accept more in the next life. We can't do this by keeping our blessings to ourselves. Our blessings need to be used to help God's children to come unto Christ.