Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Polluted with Pride
Pollution is a hot political keyword. Politicians and activists like to talk about all the different types of pollution we have in this world--groundwater, ocean, air. People complain about the brown haze over the horizon, the effect of plastic bags that pollute the ocean, and groundwater that's being polluted by oil and gas wells.
Pollution is a dirty word. It conjures up images of grease and grime. I remember an oil spill when I lived in CA and how it affected the birds. I remember seeing images of birds covered in tar and how that oil spill had killed so much sea-life.
In my own experience, we clean along a stretch of our highway twice a year. I've seen plenty of pollution: beer bottles, beer cans, liquor bottles, cigarette butts, fast food bags and wrappers, diapers, trash. People toss it out their windows without a thought of how that will affect the environment and who will eventually have to clean up after them.
No matter how you slice it, pollution is a bad thing.
Pride can also be, and many times it is, a bad thing. I believe it's acceptable to be proud of your children for making good choices or to be proud of them for receiving a good grade after studying for a test or to be proud of them for playing a piano piece they practiced or performing in a play. But, pride can take other forms that make it undesirable. There are obvious definitions of pride: thinking you are better than someone else, not being willing to listen to others because you think you are right, taking pride in your possessions, thinking you are smarter than God, etc. There are also other ways of being prideful, like being rebellious or considering yourself better because you have a higher education or thinking that commandments don't apply to you.
When you combine pride with pollution it's a powerful image. Being polluted with pride puts it in perspective. Am I polluted with pride? Do I let my pride get in the way of serving others or allowing them to serve me? Do I allow my pride to prevent me from experiencing things? Do I miss out on opportunities because of my pride?
Pride can pollute us if we aren't careful. It can canker our souls and make us miss out on important life experiences. It can separate us from our loved ones and from God.
I'm going to try to not let my pride pollute me. I don't want to be like one of those birds in the oil spill and be covered with the grime of pride. I think the best way to prevent myself from becoming polluted with pride is to be grateful, to remember that everything I have and everything I am comes from God. I need to have a grateful heart every day. In having that gratitude, I hope I will be able to avoid being polluted with pride.