Have you ever encountered someone who you would describe as “proud?” If so, it is likely that this person made a strong impression on you, albeit probably not a positive one. People who exhibit the sin of pride often act as if they are at the center of the universe, and the rest of us are simply “lucky enough” to be in orbit around them.
In our last blog, we examined the mottos of sin and how those mottos juxtapose with the eight quality characteristics; we also saw that pride is the sinful version–and thus the exact opposite–of empowering leadership. While pride says, “I am better than anyone and everyone else,” empowering leadership says, “Let others grow.” Additionally, as pride is often viewed as the “sin of all sin,” we see that it can magnify other sins: proud envy, proud greed, proud lust, etc.
Pride implies that we are autonomous beings, that we do not need others or even God. It is a direct affront to God and His power, striving to take His place by overestimating our importance. (This is the exact sin that caused Satan to stage his rebellion in Heaven!)
Unfortunately, because of their power and influence, leaders tend to be quite susceptible to the sin of pride. “The more successful our leadership, the greater the danger of becoming proud” (The 3 Colors of Community, p. 40). Power, in and of itself, is not bad. In fact, it is God-given energy. When utilized within community, power can be used to empower others. However, improperly employed in isolation, power can result in pride.
Because of this, empowering leadership is the remedy for the sin of pride. These leaders seek to empower others instead of elevating themselves. They don’t isolate themselves but are instead found among the people; they don’t keep their God-given power to themselves but share it with others. While empowering leaders may have contact with people of influence (those we might call “powerful”), they prioritize spending time and energy on those who are powerless in an attempt to empower them.
Pride tell us that we are superior than others, focusing attention on ourselves. Empowering leadership does the opposite, allowing us to take a posture of humility, focusing all of our attention on others.
Consider your own life: ministry, leadership positions, family life, etc. Where do you see the sin of pride rearing its ugly head? In these prideful areas, how can you employ the quality characteristic of empowering leadership?
(You can learn more about “The Path Away from Pride” on pp. 40-47 of The 3 Colors of Community.)