Your shouldn’t have! | Day 19 | Dec 16


Oh no! You shouldn’t have!

But thank you, I was only doing my best!

Have you noticed how pride comes in many shapes and sizes; and its different appearances sometimes draw praise – sometimes criticism – from its observers.

“You should be very proud of what you have achieved at work today!” sounds like praise while “Pride comes before a fall” sounds like a criticism.

I read a quote somewhere(1), which said that Simon Peter’s “pride .. was parading as loyalty”. I paused. What does that mean – a frequent problem when I read heavy books – what does it mean that pride parades as loyalty?

After a while I reckoned you see pride parading as loyalty when a person boasts of their “loyalty to a cause” as a way of demonstrating their high opinion of themselves rather than their true love for the cause.

When Peter said to Jesus “we have left everything to follow you” he was possibly bursting with self-love as he spoke of it, rather than love for the Saviour. He needed to be more careful.

For us, there is a similar danger that we swell with personal pride for “all we have done” for a person or a situation, for a cause or even a community like the church. It is pride, even if it is not entirely untrue to recognise the glaring evidence that we have done a good job!

If you or I are offered praise, or even a gift in acknowledgment for services rendered, we can sometimes feel overwhelmed with the words that accompany it. I have three suggestions:

  1. Say thank you and accept the words.
  2. Speak no more of it in case it looks like you are seeking further praise.
  3. Spot someone else who could share the praise with you, and let them know.

And whether we are offered praise or not, let us remember the words of Jesus when he spoke of how a servant may react to such praise:

Luke 17.10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ”

(1) I have tried to source the quote to no avail.