Pride is the most terrible passion in a human soul. It was because of pride that Lucifer fell. It was because of pride that the human race fell. Every human continues to wage war on the Spirit of the Lord if he allows pride to dwell in his heart. Many people know that pride is bad and try to fight it. However, if we are really serious about not being proud like the Pharisees, we must be informed how that fundamental and the most dangerous plague appears, how it sneaks into our hearts, and what its symptoms are. Humankind has been familiar with pride since Adam but its roots and first offshoots often escape our notice.
1. Lack of Faith
Many troubles beleaguer us if we trust God too little or don’t believe in him at all. It is one of the reasons of pride. It seems to us that we can achieve everything on our own, without God’s help or blessing. Let’s recall Holy Apostle Peter. When the Lord commanded his disciple to walk toward him on water, Peter stepped out of the boat and started marching towards Jesus courageously and faithfully. Unfortunately, his faith was still weak. He felt doubtful and frightened and started drowning. The Lord rescued him but admonished him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14:31). Let’s rely on God and trust him like children trust their parents, totally convinced that mom and dad are always there to help them.
2. I’m Always Right
We Orthodox Christians often suffer from this affliction “because we are Orthodox”, that is, we are right by default, at least in the most important issues of life and existence, if not in all cases. If someone disagrees with us, it immediately causes our pushback and leads us to prove that we’re better. We should recall the parable of the Savior about the Good Samaritan as an antidote to this attitude. He was a heretic but turned out to be closer to God than the Jewish priest and the Levite.
3. Young Elders
Many believers suffer from this regardless of their actual rank in the Church. We consider ourselves very advanced and experienced spiritually and use the guise of humility to appropriate the right to tell other people what they should do. We should never forget that no matter what spiritual heights we reach, we still remain the disciples of Christ, and pathetic ones to boot. As soon as we feel the urge to teach someone how to live, we should immediately bring to memory that it doesn’t flow out of a humble heart. Let us recall the words of Apostle James, My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. (James 3:1-2).
4. Feeling Worthy
One day, Jesus told his disciples, So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (Luke 17:10). The Lord teaches us not to show off and not to reckon ourselves great. Instead, we should consider ourselves the worst of all. If we fulfill the commandment of Christ, it’s because we must fulfill them. God orders us to do so. To get rid of feeling worthy, we should always remember our past sins and bring to memory the fact that without God’s grace we can fall at any moment if the Lord allows us to, seeing our improper standing.
In his remarkable book titled The Eucharist, Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann calls us human beings homo eucharisticus, i.e., thankful creatures. God created us for eternal bliss and ushered us into being. He revealed himself to us through Christ and in the Church. The only response to all those blessings that we have received from God is gratitude. It is no accident that the main Sacrament of the Church is the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Thanksgiving. If one isn’t grateful to God and people—if one cannot see the love of God that supports us perpetually—that person is heading in the wrong direction. We should begin every morning and end every evening by recounting the facts about our lives, which we can be grateful for.
6. Lack of prayer
It leads to severing our ties with God and to oblivion of the countless blessings that He does for us. Without prayer, we steer away from God, which also means that we lose humility because God is humble. Loss of prayer leads to despondency, which is regarded as a grave sin because a despondent person does not rejoice in the Lord. Prayer leaves our life due to commotion, among other things. We have to hurry in the morning to get to our office in time so we have no time to pray. We are tired and want to relax in the evening. Family time is valuable, too, but we leave prayer aside again. As an alternative, you may find it useful to pray at lunchtime. Just ten minutes are enough to read a passage from the Gospel and say a short prayer. If we turn it into a habit, we may find it possible to spend some time talking with God in the morning and before going to bed.
7. Judge not, lest ye be judged
When we judge another person, we automatically imply that we’re better. We look down on other people’s actions and judge them, as if we were righteous and perfect. Judging people is a symptom of pride, so we’ve got to sort it out however hard it may be at times. Memories of one’s past wrongdoings are a great way to deal both with judgmental attitudes and the feeling of one’s worthiness. We must also remind ourselves that the sin of judgment is a grave sin and can hurt us. Let’s cast the beams out of our own eyes first. Only if we become free from passions, might we be able to tell others how to get rid of the motes in their eyes.
We’ve listed 7 symptoms of pride and possible treatments. Pride manifests itself in a number of ways but eventually leads to the death of one’s soul. If we can’t fight all passions at the same time, we should at least focus our efforts on one sin and do our best to resist the primary obstacle to our conversation with God. If we manage to get the better of just one sin with God’s help, we will find it easier to overcome all other kinds of sin inside our hearts. We must do it because he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again (2 Cor. 5:15).