Wisdom Hates Pride
WISDOM is ability to use knowledge aright. It is the exercise of knowledge in a right way with good results. Closely related to wisdom is understanding. However, understanding may be said to go a step farther than wisdom. Understanding, as used in the Scriptures, means the ability to see a thing in its connected parts, and particularly the ability to see all things in their relation to Jehovah God. So God’s Word counsels: “Wisdom is the prime thing. Acquire wisdom, and with all that you acquire, acquire understanding.”—Prov. 4:7.
Wisdom has much to recommend itself. “Happy is the man that has found wisdom,” for it is better than silver, gold and precious stones. It brings with it length of days, riches, glory and pleasantness. One of the reasons why all this is true of wisdom is found in the attitude it takes toward pride. Thus the personification of wisdom says: “Self-exaltation and pride . . . I have hated.” Why does wisdom hate pride and self-exaltation?—Prov. 3:13; 8:13.
Wisdom is concerned with the fitness of things, with having them right. It knows the value of order and harmony. Wisdom is able to be objective, to view the facts impartially and to reason upon them clearly. It is interested in efficiency and results. Wisdom therefore hates pride because pride flies in the face, as it were, of all this.
What is pride? The word comes from roots meaning “stately,” “handsome,” “valiant.” Among its definitions is “inordinate self-esteem.” A certain amount of self-esteem is necessary, even as the apostle Paul shows: “I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think; but to think so as to have a sound mind.” Pride shows unsoundness of mind. It is an exalting of self, a taking of oneself too seriously, a thinking too highly of oneself. Pride is an emotional state that is not subject to reason and is therefore folly.—Rom. 12:3.
One who is proud is not only fully conscious of his own good points but he imagines he has many that he does not possess. Still worse, one who is proud is as blind to his own weaknesses and shortcomings as he is to the good and strong points of others. The proud person of one nation sees only shortcomings in those of other nations. Pride frequently goes with educational advantages, achievement, fame, power or wealth. Among the most common forms of pride are pride of race, religion and nationality.
Noting the tendency on the part of imperfect humans to brag, Jehovah God long ago counseled: “Let not the wise man brag about himself because of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man brag about himself because of his mightiness. Let not the rich man brag about himself because of his riches.” Why not? “For who makes you to differ from another? Indeed, what do you have that you did not receive? If, now, you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?”—Jer. 9:23; 1 Cor. 4:7.
Wisdom hates pride not only because pride is without logic and sense of fitness of things but, chief of all, because pride is the flouting of the authority of the greatest, wisest, most powerful and most highly exalted Personage in the universe. Pride causes one to oppose the divine will of Jehovah God. That One “opposes the haughty ones,” and warns that “everyone that exalts himself will be humbled.” Pride makes us the enemies of the One that can do the most for us: give us everlasting life in happiness. No wonder wisdom hates pride!—1 Pet. 5:5; Luke 14:11.
Yes, pride violates all sense of proportion and fitness of things. It shows itself to be entirely without understanding as to the creature’s relationship to his Creator. “The fear of Jehovah is the start of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Most Holy One is what understanding is.” Pride blinds one to the fact that even the most exalted human is but as a grasshopper compared with the Creator and that entire nations are as but drops that fall from an emptied bucket and as the fine dust that collects on the balances.—Prov. 9:10; Isa. 40:15-17, 22, 23.
Proud, worldly-wise men sedulously try to free themselves from all accountability to their Maker and all sense of obligation toward him. They busy themselves trying to find apparent flaws in the Word of God and in His book of nature. They rationalize, they philosophize and they engage in idle sophistry, all in the vain attempt to prove to themselves and others that this marvelously designed and flawlessly operating universe came into existence by mere chance and operates at random and without a Sustainer. In vain they try to rule out religion’s role in life. How foolish such men and nations show themselves to be! If not before, at Armageddon, all such will be made to know what fools they were.—Ps. 14:1; Rev. 16:14, 16.
Wisdom also hates pride because it is disruptive. Pride spurs rivalry and competition instead of harmony and cooperation. On the one hand, pride causes us to refuse to admit a wrong, and on the other hand, it makes us refuse to forgive and forget. How many marriages have been sacrificed on the altar of pride! Pride is one of the chief contributors to delinquency, for it makes parents exasperated with their children instead of patient with them, and it moves children to rebel against their parents, all of which goes contrary to Bible counsel.—Eph. 6:1-4.
Pride also acts as a disruptive force in the Christian congregation. It makes submission to authority irksome and cooperation with one’s fellows difficult. Not allowing any room for pride are Paul’s words: “In showing honor to one another take the lead,” “with lowliness of mind considering that the others are superior to you.”—Rom. 12:10; Phil. 2:3.
Truly with good reason wisdom hates pride! Pride makes us the opponents of the Creator, puts barriers between us and our neighbors and interferes with efficiency and the obtaining of desired results. God’s Word is filled with warning examples underscoring the truth that: “Pride is before a crash, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” So be like wisdom; hate pride!—Prov. 16:18.