Pride: The Gateway to Vice

It stands 630 feet high and is known as ‘The Gateway to the West. I am of course talking about the Gateway Arch found in St. Louis, Missouri. It is an impressive sight and one you will not miss if you are traveling through that part of the country. So there it is, easy to see, symbolically the gateway to the western part of the county.

It would be nice if the gateway to a life of vice would be so clear, but oft times it isn’t. Because the gateway to vice is pride, and pride is easy to see in others, but is so difficult to detect in ourselves. John wote that the ‘pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1John 2:16) Christ himself decried pride as an ‘evil thing that defiles a man. (Mark 7:22)

Sometimes we like to point out that others are being prideful, when in fact, we too are suffering from such actions. We think others are prideful when they don’t agree with our life choices, when in fact we too might be manifesting pride when we refuse to listen to good sound counsel. Pride can easily become intertwined in our personality and character which will eventually choke out its antithesis, which is charity. Dieter Uchfdorf recently said:

“Pride is a deadly cancer. It is a gateway sin that leads to a host of other human weaknesses. In fact, it could be said that every other sin is, in essence, a manifestation of pride.

This sin has many faces. It leads some to revel in their own perceived self-worth, accomplishments, talents, wealth, or position. They count these blessings as evidence of being “chosen,” “superior,” or “more righteous” than others. This is the sin of “Thank God I am more special than you.” At its core is the desire to be admired or envied. It is the sin of self-glorification.

For others, pride turns to envy: they look bitterly at those who have better positions, more talents, or greater possessions than they do. They seek to hurt, diminish, and tear down others in a misguided and unworthy attempt at self-elevation. When those they envy stumble or suffer, they secretly cheer.” (Pride and the Priesthood, GC, 2010, Oct.)

Indeed, Uchfdorf concluded that it is almost impossible to be lifted up in pride when we are filled with charity. All of us have a certain level of the sin of pride in our lives. It might come from opposite sides of the spectrum, be it self-righteousness, or the pride of envy but either way it behooves us to examine ourselves on a daily basis lest we find ourselves entering the gateway that will lead to unhappiness and eternal sorrow.

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