Dimensions of pride in competition

Pride clearly manifests itself in various ways.  But here are two symptoms that, while easily observed in day to day human activities, cannot be suspected for any wrongness.  It is in competition that; while viewed as necessary for development, no wrongness can be suspected.  This makes it difficult to deal with the effects of the only sin of humanity—pride.

The desirable achievements can be anything, as long as admirable to other people.  A girl, viewed as most beautiful in the community, can easily suffer depression when another, judged as more beautiful, comes onto the scene.  The same applies in other areas of competition; whether sport, music, or some academic excellence or anything, viewed as admirable to other people.

The symptom of pride manifests after having achieved great results, ahead of peers.  While such achievements can cause idolization from fellow humans, it leads to jealous feelings, in the event that another better achiever comes into picture.

Other people, associated with the idolized person, like the relatives and friends, can easily get affected as well, being similarly exposed to the problem of pride, on behalf of the person they observe as their hero.

But, pride itself is projected in either of two ways. The first one is in that a person is susceptible of being proud, when excelling and managing to attain the greatest achievement, where others tried and failed.  The second one is that it is the other people who display it, when not approving of the achiever.

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The reason why pride manifests in a person is because such achievements make him/her feel superior to those unable to attain the achievement.  The effects of bitterness, due to pride, may remain hidden, until someone comes to rob the person of his/her iconic status.

The previous iconic achiever views the newly crowned achiever as a rival. This highlights the area from where all evil intentions are manufactured.  Gossipers are born out of jealousy.  I suppose, even witchcraft emanates from such jealous feelings.

Almost all celebrities easily get affected by the bitterness of this nature, causing various other complications, as affecting their health. The previous iconic achiever may not be the only one affected by feelings of bitterness. His/her staunch supporters may also be even prepared to fight battles triggered by jealousness, on behalf of their hero.

All along, pride would not be suspected to be the chief instigator of such problems.

The second symptom can be displayed by those associated with the heroic achiever.  They suddenly get gripped with jealous feelings, when viewing popularity as being stolen by the despised person.  This is why Jesus had to declare: “…..A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household” (Mark 6:4) (ESV).

In this particular instance, the hero may not be proud, necessarily. But, due to pride, those closely associated with him/her may feel disadvantaged, thereby, devising some reason to treat the achiever scornfully.

They would have drawn their own conclusions, on who and where achievers should come from.  They get disturbed when the despised person suddenly springs up to the lime-light, ahead of them.  A good example is that of Jesus who, on displaying His extra-ordinary wisdom and knowledge on issues of life, His own people found that to be unacceptable (Mark 6:3).

Their offence had nothing to do with Jesus’ good works, but triggered by a view that superior knowledge ought to have come from the approved quarters. But without pride, there would have been no such feelings.

Those people would flatly deny that they would be exhibiting pride.  They would, actually, associate their classification of the despicable achiever to demands of standing traditions and customs. They even find reasons to label the achiever as being proud, but without concrete evidence.

This is another way the sin of the world has enslaved humanity.  Most achievers get smeared with all sorts of unfounded accusations, designed to cause other people to also hate the crowned achiever.

The pride that is displayed by such jealous people causes ordinary people to succumb to behaving according to the expectations of leaders in society. The inherent talents and abilities get suppressed, accordingly.

This is where even racial; tribal or gender connotations are brought to play. Lack of progress in some sections of society is caused by such suppression.  A black person is not expected to achieve anything ahead of his/her white counterparts, or vice versa.  Humans are categorized according to class.

A woman is not expected to achieve anything better, ahead of her male counterparts.  A person considered uneducated is not expected to show signs of being an achiever. The list goes on and on.

Religion can, actually, be the worst cause, as associated with such irregularities.  As long as other people are considered as infidels, battles are initiated, as found to be necessary, on behalf of God?  No reason can pacify agitators of such conflicts.

Any attempt to intervene in religious wars, mostly, facilitates the escalation of violence, as known to exist throughout the world.   All this comes from the only sin ensconced in humanity, but hidden, yet publicly manifesting itself in human societies across the world.

In most African countries leaders in government suppress innovative young people.  Those government leaders find it reasonable to entrench themselves as life presidents.  This is designed to ensure that none of their subjects would rise up to take away their iconic leadership status.

The racial background is commonly concluded as being what causes the behaviors of such unacceptable leaders.  But one needs to understand their historical background and what sustains the world civilization, to appreciate their despotic leadership.

Anyone can point fingers on who and what would be wrong.  But the origin of the only sin of the world remains unsuspected. The more people point fingers, the more the sin is hidden. However, this sin was dealt with, in the first century, yet it remains hidden to most ordinary people, even today.

To the privileged few, who now understand, the sin of the world is now exposed and should no longer cause the known tribulations across the world.  The effects of this sin ought to be classified as the last kicks of a dying horse.

“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me” (John1:29) (ESV).  How did Jesus deal with the Sin of the World?

According to John the Baptist, Jesus was the only known human being ever qualified to handle the only sin of humanity. Unless the method Jesus used is applied, any other way is futile attempt.  There is no other credentials that can match the Man who did not originate from this world.

The sin of the world came by Satan and it is manifested in pride, as projecting self-centredness. All other sins known to exist in the world are a result of pride.  Greed, theft, murder and, virtually, everything  as listed on Galatians 5:19-21 are effects of the problem of pride. Altruism is the only way to reverse the pattern.

As spiritual, pride has characteristics of desiring to elevate self above every other human being.  But such desires are not different from desiring to be above God, as all humans were created in God’s image.  Nothing is worse than seeking to rejoice where others are downgraded.  This is why the dynamics of human relations is categorized according to ranks or class.

It appears as if there is a law that makes it impossible to live without assuming that someone should be regarded as super human.  Inversely, another indirect law seeks to classify other humans as not worthy of ever achieving anything nearer those classified as super human.

This contradicts the fact that a human being was created in God’s image.  Any human being seen in our midst was created in God’s image and has the potential to achieve great things, just as God achieves great things.  This disregards the person’s appearance, whether deformed, black or white, short or tall; male or female, slave or free (Galatians 3:28-29).

God’s image in humanity is not what is seen in physical form.  This is why it had to be Jesus from Heaven, to deal with the most complicated sin of humanity.  The drawn plan of salvation, started with Abraham, leading to Jesus. The land from where Abraham was called had not been associated with keeping God’s laws.

Abram himself may have been an idolater, before his calling, just as everyone in that surrounding was involved in idolatry.  Nothing appears as having been special about Abraham, who simply listened and obeyed God’s instructions, leading him out from his Babylonian relatives.

Abram had to be disconnected from his people to be taught God’s principles before God’s promises could be conferred on him.  Up to his point of death, Abraham did not enjoy the physical fruits of those promises, except being assured of their certainty, coming after his physical existence:

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back” (Hebrews 11:17-19) (ESV).

While the Israelites were used as means to facilitate the coming Messiah, they should not be viewed as having been more privileged, compared to the rest of humanity.  This is why the Jews had to be the ones to carry the sinful burden of murdering their Messiah.

The purpose of Jesus was not to address the sin of the Israelites and the Jews, but the sin of the entire humanity. The enemies of the early Christian faith were not the gentiles, or those not associated with Jewish religion.

The enemies of the Christian faith were those associated with important canons of Scripture, as ascribed to Jewish religion. At that time, the only authoritative scriptural references were the ones that comprised the Old Testament.

However, a careful study of those scriptures can reveal that the behavior of the Jews at the time of Jesus had been designed to lead to the crucifixion of Jesus.  There was nothing accidental about the Jewish condemnation of their Messiah.

It would not have been possible for Jesus to accomplish His mission, without those who had committed themselves to faithfully observe the Laws of the Old Covenant. The Laws given to them through Moses at Mount Sinai facilitated the behavior of the Jews, in murdering Jesus.

But it is that behavior that enabled Jesus to accomplish His mission of dealing with the notorious sin of humanity. God knew that the instituted Laws, through Moses, would cause the failure of the Jews to appreciate Jesus in His mission to deal with the notorious sin.

The whole arrangement caused the chief architect of sin, Satan, to aim his artillery on what would actually facilitate the success of Jesus’ mission.  Instead of suppressing the mission, the persecutions and ill-treatment of those doing the work of God, are a desirable package towards their salvation.

Persecutions facilitate the successful accomplishment of Jesus’ mission. Instead of condemning the Jews, the rest of humanity should appreciate their behavior.  This is just as the treacherous behavior of Judas Iscariot had been ordained by God ahead of time and needs to be appreciated, accordingly (Matthew 27:9-10).

Judas Iscariot is commonly viewed as an enemy of Jesus, according to common evaluation by those engrossed in the sin of the world.  But Judas Iscariot’s behavior was designed by God, so that Judas Iscariot was actually on the side of the Lord.

There was no way Jesus could have accomplished his mission without Judas Iscariot and what appears to be the wrong behavior of the Jews.  If anyone finds the behavior of those people detestable, that person is sold to a dummy, assuming to be on the Lord’s side, yet anchored on devil’s side (Matthew 16:23).

Also, Jesus did not start another religion. This is why it was His custom to go to the synagogues every Sabbath day, to preach about God’s Kingdom. Interestingly, even though the Jews had revealed their intention to kill Him, Jesus did not change His programs, even fulfilling the observance of the Jewish Passover.

Jesus committed Himself to fulfilling the requirements of the Jewish religion and taught that anyone relaxing those statutes, or encouraging others to do the same, would be called the least in God’s Kingdom.

Interestingly, Jesus never instructed anyone to teach that it was no longer necessary to observe all the Jewish religious customs, including the Sabbath observance (Matthew 5:19).  Jesus simply taught that He was the fulfillment of that which the Old Covenant pointed at.

Now let us deal with how Jesus managed to deal with the sin of the world, which is projected in treating one class of people as better than those considered as sinful, thereby, promoting pride.  The Jews were the class of people that would be distinguished as keeping God’s Laws and therefore, holier than everyone else.

 But Jesus brought the reversal of that attitude.  He confused the common view that sought to punish the wrong-doers without mercy. The Law-keepers are the ones who murdered Jesus.  The faithful disciples of Jesus may have also disqualified the Jews for hypocrisy.  But, Jesus brought a Chief Pharisee in their midst, whose understanding of Jesus’ principles appears as having surpassed theirs.

The one considered to be their Chief Apostle, had to be corrected by this former chief disapprover of the Christian faith (Galatians 2:11-12).  Today those in positions of authority, appearing  as standing for the faith of Jesus, are exposed as the ones who will possibly gnash their teeth when Jesus comes (Matthew 7:21-23).

Jesus does not reward people according to the commonly adopted methods (Matthew 20:1-16). There are many scriptures, revealing that the safest route in Christianity is to remain humble (Matthew 23:12). The article [All sins of humanity are embraced in pride] can be another helpful resource, dealing with this topic.

But those putting themselves in better light, ahead of others, because of their long-standing commitment in Christianity, are more vulnerable.  It is those who think they stand who should heed the warning: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12) (ESV).

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.

The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99

Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com  for $6.99