How to be Humble When Pride Rears Up

Is pride rearing up in marriage? Then come by MM and read how to crush pride and wear humility! #marriage #pride #humility #Bible #verses #attitude #change #Christ #humble #conflict #connection #inspiration

I’ve pulled from my vault (2014) a post on humility that really captures a struggle I deal with to this day. I hope you find it to be as inspiring, funny, and convicting as I do now and did then.

Lately, God has been dealing with my “pride.” Ugh!

That’s such an ugly word and admission!

I guess you could say, “It hurts my pride to say that I struggle with pride!”

How’s that for a contradiction?! 😉

This ugly realization is leading me to find ways to live out humility, especially when pride rears its “ugly head” in my life again.

In 1 Peter 5:5b-6, it says,

“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

I don’t know about you but I could really use God’s grace right about now. But being humble is never an easy, obvious, and clear-cut proposition or act.

I really wish that humility could be an actual piece of “clothing”maybe like a humble hoodie—that I could put on and wear for all to see.

Then I’d know without a doubt when it’s wrapped around me, right?

And since it’s a hoodie, I could cover that “ugly prideful head” whenever it rears up in my life too!

But there’s a problem with this plan.

Do you remember Jesus’ parable about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14?

In this parable, the Pharisee prayed loudly for all to hear about the many ways he had been obedient and righteous, comparing himself to the lowly tax collector who was also praying nearby.

However, there was a huge difference between the prayers and attitudes of these two men.

In contrast to the Pharisee’s prideful ramblings, the tax collector beat his breast and cried for God’s mercy.

Here’s a t-shirt that I think this Pharisee would have wanted to wear all around the temple courts!

What do you think?

And although I might want to attribute this slogan to the prideful Pharisee, more times than not, I’m the one living out this foolish notion.

I’m being “prideful” because I think I’m being “humble.”

Humility is one of those character qualities, fueled by God, that is absolutely essential to a healthy and thriving marriage.

That’s because we all will act in prideful ways from time to time, especially toward our spouses in the conflicts of marriage. We all need humility so that we can forgive and find healing for these hurts that come when pride rears up in our spouses.

So, when you feel pride rising up within you, I hope you’ll remember this along with me . . .

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  —Ephesians 4:32

Recognizing that you’re just as much of a sinner as your offender—your spouse—frees you to extend mercy like Christ extended mercy to you. That’s when you can experience true healing! Healing that only Christ, His mercy and grace can do in your heart and marriage!

Won’t you join me in praying and responding to our spouses and other offenders like the humble tax collector rather than like the Pharisee?

God will certainly bless our efforts when we respond like His Son!

Hey friends, it’s not too late to join my private Facebook Bible study—Pray Like David”—that will be studying select psalms of David. Click here and request to be added and I’ll get right on it! Want more details before you make the commitment? Click here.

Psalms of David - Want to join a Bible study on select psalms of David? Then come by MM to learn how! #Bible #Biblestudy #verses #Scripture #growth #inspiration #encouragement

I’d also love it if you’d take a survey on the hurdles you face in creating time with God. Click here to take it now. This will help guide me for posts that I’ll be doing in the future, enabling me to create resources that can help you establish this priority and practice!

What most often causes pride to rear up in your marriage and/or life?


How can we know when we’re being humble? Is it even possible?

19 responses to “How to be Humble When Pride Rears Up”

  1. Lovely. And I’m sure you would have appreciated my ‘I LOVE MY ATTITUDE PROBLEM’ tee that I proudly wore in high school. Makes me wonder about pride covering up places where we feel we lack something, somehow …


    1. I actually thought the humble t-shirt was hilarious, Linda, and yours sounds like a hoot too! You and I would’ve gotten along great in high school with our “attitude problems!” ha! Yes, pride often is a cover up for insecurity, but sometimes we start to believe our own “press.” Not that I’d ever know what that’s like! ha!


  2. Pride rears up mightily when I get caught up in the comparison game. I ask “why is he/she getting all the praise when I did just as well?” I would love to say that it then takes me to a place of humility but many times I am internalizing the pride allowing it to consume rather than handing it over to God. Can’t wait to hear more about this in the future!!! Happy Sunday to you!


    1. Oh, yes! I was thinking about that when I wrote this, Mary. Like minds! 🙂 And like you, what might have started as a loving and purely sacrificial act turns into green-eyed monster of pride or discontentment because someone else got the glory. There’s a verse that reminds me of what you’ve said about the “consuming” power of envy and pride, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the
      bones.” Prov. 14:30


  3. Oh, man! I signed into Discus AFTER I typed my comment and now it’s gone and now I can’t remember what I wrote. And that stuff was BRILLIANT, too! Shoot! Isn’t it amazing how many excuses PRIDE can come up with? Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’ve perfect in every way. The concept that PRIDE and FORGIVENESS are fundamentally incompatible is truly mind blowing. I have seen people looking for reconciliation who may be told they are forgiven, but really, they are offered a kind of condition based manipulation by the proud hurt person. And some people live like that for years until they get so frustrated that they decide “forgiveness” just ain’t worth the hassle. How beautiful true forgiveness is for both sides! Pride hardens the heart, and bitterness eats the soul. Forgiveness always liberates and improves your life.


    1. Ha ha! Oh I know, KImberly! I write “brilliant” stuff all the time and accidentally delete it. I’ve got a tricky right pinky that surges for that delete key all the time! And thanks for encouraging me–not puffing me up, mind you!–with your mind-blowing enthusiasm for the concept of pride and forgiveness! My mind is constantly combing over forgiveness issues lately but it’s God ALONE who makes anything of value come to the surface. I also love that God has given “you” the words to see how this prideful act of trying to forgive might look or feel on the receiving end. So good! I hadn’t thought through that aspect, so thanks for adding to the discussion, sweet friend!


  4. You know, I think false pride and false shame are closely related…flip sides of the same coin.
    And the only solution for either, that I’ve found, is spending frequent time with our Father, listening to His voice and learning to find my true identity in Him.
    It’s not a thing to ever be cured of…it requires frequent renewal…
    Blessings to you, my friend!


    1. Yes, Joe, that secure identity is always and only established in our God. We sure get in trouble when we try to define it or let others define it. Thanks for stopping by and adding helpful thoughts to the conversation, my friend!


  5. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Interesting timing – I was just thinking about this last night.

    One of the things that keeps pride in check for me is my struggle with combat trauma. I’ve seen some things that I would not care to describe here, and when those memories come flooding back they erase pride, and a lot of other things, too – including self-confidence, and indeed, self-esteem.

    Pride is a danger to every Christian (and to those of other faiths, as well), but to some extent it, or its doppelgangers of self-worth and confidence, are necessary for effective action, and effective living in the faith.

    After a bout with PTSD yesterday, I found all of the underpinnings of confidence which animate my writing just flat gone. Nothing seemed to matter alongside the absolute horror of those memories, and it will be an effort to get ‘the meaning’ back.

    I know that pride and self-confidence are not quite the same thing, but I’m not sure that in our human condition we can completely separate them, and it may lower our ability to do God’s work if we assiduously try.

    The risk would seem to be that when we go after the ‘weeds’ of pride, we may not recognize the flowers that are ‘proud’ to be just what they are. We’re conditioned, as Christians, to strive for humility, but we don’t have the discernment needed to recognize that a Christ-like humility carries with it a level of firm confidence which can easily be mistaken for pride.

    And so we cut down the flowers with the weeds, and have to start growing the garden all over again.


    1. Yes, you’ve articulated some of the confusing questions I have about where confidence ends and pride begins, Andrew. And I also agree that trying to separate them is practically impossible in our messy, lives here on the earth. I also love your thoughts on the weeds of pride and the flowers of healthy pride or security in God. You’ve given me much more to contemplate today, my friend!


  6. Great post, Beth. I think pride is self serving, and humility is other’s focused. That’s a big “tell” for me — where is my focus?


    1. Thanks, Lyli! I appreciate you coming by. And yes, that’s a good rule of thumb, but I think the human condition even makes this too complex and confusing. What if what I do for others is so that I will be approved or win some kind of status? You may say, the end result is “self-serving.” And I would wholeheartedly agree, but I don’t know that in that moment–all the moments of life–we are able to fully see it so clearly. Thankfully God doesn’t ask us to see it, but instead trust Him to reveal it. 🙂


  7. A perfect series to begin the Lenten journey with, Beth. I love that image with the hoodie too. Made me smile. 🙂


  8. I stumbled upon a short little booklet by Tim Keller called, “The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness” and it has been very instrumental in my battle with pride. He quotes Soren Kierkegaard in saying that Spiritual pride is the illusion that we are competent to run our own lives, achieve our own sense of self-worth and find a purpose big enough to give us meaning in life without God. I long to be fully reliant on God and sometimes I am but many times I slip back into doing things myself because I feel safer and in more control. I know better in my head and even in my heart – it’s just that flesh thing that trips me up. I look forward to your series. Nice to meet you!


  9. How can we tell if we are being prideful? If we are harboring bitterness and unforgiveness and if we are complaining and thinking we are being given less than we deserve. You are right on target when you said, ” We cannot be proud and forgivng at the same time.” We also can’t be proud and grateful at the same time . . . which is what I blogged about this week on Marriage Monday. Thanks so much for linking up with Marriage Monday again this week!


  10. It’s hard to be humble
    when you’ve beaten every test,
    made ev’ry demon crumble
    as proof that you’re the best.
    It’s really tough, this ‘being meek’
    when you stand astride the earth
    alwaly finding what you seek,
    and always giving birth
    to shining awe in others’ eyes,
    to their words of praise
    to a truth that none denies
    that these are My Own Days
    as God in Heaven shakes His head;
    “Shoulda made that dude a bird, instead.”


    1. You are so funny, Andrew! But I sure don’t want to make your head even bigger! Lol! Thank you for stopping by and waxing poetic once more. Your ability to turn a phrase into a lesson in rhyme is truly astounding! Happy New Year, my friend! Praying for you daily!


  11. Well here I am, 7 years later and commenting again! All I can say is that when I’m starting to feel not so humble, I’m reminded again of where I’d probably be without Jesus

    And that puts me right back where I need to be. Thankful for grace.

    And that’s the end of any pride that lurks!


    1. Can you believe it, Linda? Seven years have passed in our blogger friendship–maybe more! I so appreciate you and especially love your perspective here! Christ truly is the One who brings perspective when we need a sober view of ourselves. Thanks for adding that to the conversation! Love ya and happy new year!


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