Saturday, January 29, 2011

Franklin and Piper on Pride

I've come across two quotes this morning on the subject of pride.

First, from the Autobiography of Ben Franklin:
In reality there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history. For, even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.
And from John Piper (preaching on Romans 12:3):
Inflated views of ourselves are very dangerous to our soul. In America we believe the opposite, especially advertising agencies. Exalting the self is not perilous; it is profitable. On the billboard behind our church on 6th Street you can read a McDonalds ad: “Me, myself and my salad.” Advertisers, educators, counselors, human resource managers, coaches, politicians, and pastors will give an account some day for how they exploited the suicidal tendency of the human mind toward pride.

Paul does the opposite. He does what love demands. He warns against it in verse 3: “I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” In other words, Paul makes the first task of the renewed Christian mind the obliteration of pride and the cultivation of humility. What’s new about the renewed mind? Pride is put to death; humility begins to grow.
The Piper quote is from a wonderful sermon (here), which I was led to by the inimitable Journeyman.


Anonymous said...

though i have not looked into the links. your post, being spot-on, is very useful. thanks.

Glynn said...

Bob, I think the two quotes suggest something else about pride -- that believers and non-believers alike recognize it as a problem. We may see it as having different causes but it is still a piece of common ground.

This is a hard message for a celebrity culture with few moral underpinnings left ("if you got it, flaunt it") but is as applicable to me as it is to Lady Gaga.