Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18 (ESV)
This is one of those familiar proverbs that we may not even realize comes from the pages of Scripture. Unfortunately, I usually hear it employed in the same way as, “What comes around, goes around.” The idea is that people get what’s coming to them, especially if they are arrogant. However, pride is more dangerous than the snooty debutante spilling red wine all over her designer gown.
Pride leads to delusional thinking. Consider Satan who was cast out of heaven for imagining he could be superior to God. To have pride means to deny the truth, while to have humility means to acknowledge the truth. Mary, in her hymn of praise, speaks of the proud being scattered in the imagination of their hearts. In other words, both their pride and its accompanying delusions are scattered.
Consider the current cause du jour of our elected leaders—transgenderism. This entire disorder (It was only in 2012 with the DSM-V that the American Psychological Association softened its labeling of this disorder.) is a denial of truth. Truth being understood as reality and a correspondence to it.
The results of this continued assault on reality are sad. Why are we, as a society, bent on affirming people’s delusions? It is an issue of pride. We have been a nation of pride-affirmers for decades. We think that a “lack of self-esteem” is bad, so we try to “build it” in our children. Well, we’ve done it. Now they have so much self-esteem they think they can do anything—even deny biological reality.
Consider a well-intentioned, but unrealistic, guidance counselor urging a student to follow their dreams only for that student to end up unemployed, underemployed, or unemployable because they spent 4 years in college studying some bizarre pursuit. (I am not advocating against liberal arts, or even the arts. Our rush to make colleges over-priced white-collar trade schools is also a tragedy.) Is this really that much different from the same guidance counselor encouraging a student to follow their heart by changing genders?
Both of these scenarios allow a student to try to force a fantasy world into the real world. Students can be forgiven for this up to a point because school tends to be an incubator and insulator. They are incubators because students find themselves surrounded by a peer group, a mass of equally uniformed students with whom they can concoct alternatives to reality. They also serve as insulators since the effects of such efforts is normally muted, if not encouraged, by these peers (and too often, others who should know better.)
It is not loving to encourage people down a road that diverges from the truth. It is to encourage their pride that somehow they are above the affects of sin, death, and reality. Love seeks the truth and encourages others to do the same. This is not to say that love is in the business of squashing every dream. Love always hopes. Mostly, love points to the source of all love and reality itself. Love requires humility. We cannot love out of pride.
In such a time as this, where light is called dark and dark is called light, we must remain steadfast and humble. We must affirm the truth. We must live in the truth. To do so will attract criticism and probably worse from those who are given over to prideful imagining. To fail to be a witness to the truth is to lie to those around us, to conceal reality, and that is not love.