Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Pride: Angel or Demon? February 15, 2013

Pluto may not be the sharpest tool in the Disney vault, but there is something to be said of his decision-making skills. He often consulted with the angel over one shoulder that refuted the devil on the other. Both would present their reasoning and wait for Pluto to weigh the evidence and make a decision.

The bipolar role conscience plays in our lives reminds me of two other heavy-hitting emotional players: pride and humility. “It was pride that changed angels into devils,” said Saint Augustine, “it is humility that makes men as angels.”

I can’t remember the last time someone told me I made them proud. I can honestly say I don’t know that I know what pride even feels like. And I can’t say I’m too disappointed about it. With words like greed, envy, and vanity as its relatives, pride is not in good company. What room is there for pride in a life of gratitude?

“Pride slays thanksgiving,” said theologian and social reformer Henry Ward Beecher, “but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.”

Pride: Angel or Demon?

In my personal philosophical debate, I’ve had my mind pretty well made up about this thing called pride. But the more I listened to both sides of the argument, I began to piece together a ground-level pride perspective. In the eye of the beholder, pride is not such a negative thing. I aspire to make my mom and dad proud of me, but that doesn’t make me envious or vain. It is a humble plea that originates in my heart. And I am thankful for moments when they smile at something silly I do. Does that make me greedy?

This is one topic on which the angel and devil may compromise.