"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus... he humbled himself..." (Phil 2:5,8)
Pride is a universal intrapersonal enemy in the life of every human being to be fought with resolve and defeated . It starts early in child development as autonomy is explored for the first time. But, like the "sweet tooth," it must be held in check, tamed before it destroys a life. Every person made in the image of God has the right to, head held high, look every other person in the eye. But this does not mean being prideful.
"Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice." (Prov 13:10 TNIV)
Pride leads to closed hearts and heads. It builds walls in relationships - often injuring the people we love the most. It fuels anger and grudges. It keeps us from learning from other people, destroying the synergistic value of human community.
The Disney theme parks are designed, built and maintained by a group called the Imagineers. Their highest principle comes straight from Walt Disney: Everyone has a voice, everyone has useful thoughts and ideas. With that mentality, they have tapped the minds of engineers, children, doctors, parents, and custodians - anyone who might have a stake in the end product - and constructed the most effective entertainment experiences in the world. It takes humility, but it is how we were made to live together in community.
Good illustration: A professor of mine in grad school tells of when he was working on his PhD - a Greek scholar - translating texts that most scholars had never even seen before. He was teaching a Sunday school class and brought up a nuance on a Greek verb. An elderly woman at the back of the class raised her hand and corrected him. He looked up what she suggested when he got back to his office and realized she was right. When he asked her how she knew, she told him she had been widowed for about 40 years and wanted to spend her extra time understanding the Bible better. She got a Greek primer and taught herself Greek - and had been studying ancient Greek consistently for 40 years. Without a high school degree - yet reading at the level of a Greek scholar - she taught a scholar the value of humility. My professor used this illustration to teach us that everyone has a voice - and to listen.
"Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor." (Prov 18:12 TNIV)
"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." (James 4:10 TNIV)
Sometimes the most difficult humility for some is to humble ourselves to God. There are commands in scripture that don't make sense to us or match our perspective. In a culture where we like to mold and shape our own life experience, the prospect of someone else - i.e. our creator - making demands upon our lives rubs us wrongly.
From the life of Jesus, what helps me is to see his example praying to God in the garden before he was crucified. He prayed, "...yet not as I will, but as you will." (Mat 26:39 NIV)
It seems to me that humility is saying, "It's not about me. It's about you." To our friends, enemies, family, and especially to God. In our humility and dependence upon God comes a promise that "...he may lift you up in due time." (1 Pet 5:6)
Humility breaks down walls, opens dialogue, heals wounds and promotes true community for which we are created.
Humility is part of the solution.