The very first thing you must do to be able to deal with pride and self-righteousness in the church is to judge yourself first. Is there any pride or self-righteousness lurking inside you? Let’s read Matthew 7:3-5, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and THEN SHALT THOU SEE CLEARLY to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” I am not accusing you of pride, just pointing out that the first step in dealing with others is self-judgment. We read the words of King David in Psalms 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” David is asking the Lord to search his heart and then reveal to him what is truly in his heart. We are notorious for being self-deceivers. We fool ourselves constantly…telling ourselves that we are free from sin, free from sinful thoughts, and free from pride. We need the Lord to search our hearts, reveal to us what is in our hearts, so that we might confess our sins. When we do that, we are pulling the mote out of our own eye so that we might see clearly enough to help our brothers and sisters in Christ pull the mote out of their own eyes.

What is the danger of having pride? There are many. Psalms 10:4 says, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, WILL NOT SEEK AFTER GOD: God is not in all his thoughts.” The one who is proud will lose his dependence on the Lord and begin depending upon himself. We read in Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Pride precedes failure. When we depend upon ourselves, instead of depending on the Lord, failure is never too far behind. Pride causes shame (Proverbs 11:2). Pride causes contention, or arguments (Proverbs 13:10). Pride will bring the chastening hand of God, as we read in Psalms 12:3, “The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things.” Matthew 23:12 tells us, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” We see that pride causes a man to exalt himself higher than the Lord. We also see that if we do not humble ourselves, the Lord will humble us.

It was pride that caused Lucifer to rebel against God. Isaiah 14:12-15 says, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I WILL ASCEND into heaven, I WILL EXALT my throne above the stars of God: I WILL SIT also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I WILL ASCEND above the heights of the clouds; I WILL BE LIKE THE MOST HIGH. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Lucifer’s pride caused him to rebel against God. Desiring to be in a position ‘higher’ than the Lord, his pride caused him to be “brought down to hell.” The dangers of pride are many and the results of pride are humiliation, failure, destruction, and abasement.

How do you deal with a fellow believer who you feel is prideful? This can be difficult because proud people will rarely admit that they are proud. You must go to that person in love     and humility. Galatians 6:1 tells us, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Realizing that you, too, are susceptible to pride, you should have the attitude of ‘restoring’ this person to the Lord. You must be meek in your actions and words. Keep in mind that you do not want to get rid of this person, you want to help him get rid of his sin of pride. Above all, you must be humble and have a true desire to see this person release this sin so that he might better serve the Lord with his life. Before you do anything, ask the Lord to give you the proper attitude and the right words to help this proud person. (268.2)