Pride in humility?

Is it possible to be pride in humility or vice versa, to be humility in pride? Example? How to break that vicious circle?

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CS Lewis mentioned this exact thing in The Screwtape Letters, when Screwtape advises Wormwood to disarm his patient’s humility by making him proud of it. And if the patient realizes this and tries to smother this new pride to make him proud of his attempt, thus adding another layer of pride. Ultimately, Screwtape warns that if this is attempted too much, you’ll, “ awake his sense of humour and proportion, in which case he will merely laugh at you and go to bed.”

I recommend the same, and also to recognize that, as a fallen creature, there may well be times when you are proud of a virtue. Accept that this is part of your fallen nature and that Jesus, in due time, will make it so you feel no pride in your humility. But that day is not today.

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One of the easiest ways to tell the difference is by examining the direction of thoughts. If you are happy to be humble, then that isn’t prideful because all virtues are good and desirable and we’re suppose to be happy with developing them. I don’t know if anything causes more avoidable pain and grief in the world than pride. It’s as if life were a series of large ocean waves, and instead of easily diving low & into the wave to pass through them, a person continually tries to overpower them and ends up always exhausted and agitated and hurt. Getting rid of pride is one of the most or the most happy thing anybody could ever do.

But, if thoughts start going in the direction of making comparisons to other people as a way of gaining satisfaction, then it is pride in humility and that should be patiently removed by redirecting thoughts towards happiness and gratitude. Daily prayer should always include saying thank you to Jesus.

I agree that C.S. Lewis is a pretty good author on the subject.

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Of course. I see Christians all the time fight about who is more humble.

I’m a baby in Christ but I reckon a key way to tell whether we’re “proud of humility” might be whether it would bother us if others don’t think we’re humble. Like, I reckon it’s a bad sign if we feel an instinct to ‘prove’ how humble we are.

Honestly I get more nervous when others praise me because it is a temptation to preen. Whereas when I know that others think poorly of me (for whatever reason), that helps me peel away my pride, and return to the remembrance that only God’s perspective matters. Also others are often right about things that are wrong with me, and it’s helpful (if briefly painful) to see those things so I can ask God to change them about me. I often feel pretty immediately happy once I accept that the rough facts about myself are true, and I turn them over to God.

Maybe I’ve missed the point of the question though.

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Very possible, even probable.

With prayer and honest self-examination. Awareness of the issue is a great start.

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What is humility? One definition that I have heard is that humility is knowing your place in the scheme of things, or your part in God’s plan. Therefore it also means recognizing your dependence on God, and the interdependence of humans.

Recall what Saint Paul wrote about the parts of the body (1 Corinthians 12). The eye can do many things, and so can the hand, but together they can accomplish much more. Likewise every body part benefits from every other, so that none should boast.

I’ve heard also that humility is not a matter of thinking poorly of yourself or neglecting your own needs. What is gained by that? Perhaps it is best if we recognize our strengths as well as our weaknesses, and let our strength help another where they are weak, and let another’s strength help us where we are weak. This attitude may be an aspect of humility.

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Lovely advice here. But on a more humorous note, remind yourself of Golda Meir’s witty quip: “Don’t be so humble. You’re not that great.”

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No need to compare ourselves with others. Seek praise from God, not humans. Only God knows our hearts. If we see things under the aspect of eternity how can’t we be humble. Read and meditate every day on Kempis or Bible passages such as Luke’s parable of the rich fool or James 4. “Submit yourself to God… You are a puff of smoke which appears briefly and then disappears…You should say ‘if God wills it we shall live to do this or that.’” Whatever your circumstance, adored by the multitudes or living in the obscurity of a Bartelby, it is ultimately God’s plan and will. Boast in God, without whom we are nothing.

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