pride- the unpardonable sin?
Updated: Feb 7
I currently have a pretty unusual "side hustle" job...I work as a "party princess".
Since my college degree is in childcare, I enjoy singing, and I have a secret love for fairytales when the job opportunity opened up, it just made sense! At random hours of random days, I get scheduled to dress up, drive to a birthday party or event, and play princess with a bunch of giggling preschoolers. I actually love it more than I want to admit! When I walk into the room, those little kids look at me like I am a celebrity.
I often play a look-a-like character to Disney's popular ice queen "Elsa". Born with the power of ice and snow, Elsa is the firstborn daughter of King Agnarr and Queen Iduna, older sister of Queen Anna, and the former queen of Arendelle. As the queen regnant of the kingdom of Arendelle, Elsa appears calm, reserved, regal and - unlike her sister - graceful and poised. Beneath this cool and collected appearance, however, Elsa is quite turbulent; in truth, the Snow Queen was, for a majority of her young life, troubled by her abilities, a feeling which stems from a traumatic incident as a child. Throughout the movies Frozen and Frozen II we see Elsa wrestle with her "magical powers" and find a better sense of who she is- causing her to embrace her abilities instead of fear them.
When I step into a party, the kids in the audience instantly believe that I fit the description above. They watch my every move, marveling at my long white hair (a wig) and my sparkly blue dress (a costume). When they see me they believe that Elsa is real. "Show us your snow powers!" "Sing to us with your magical voice!" "Tell us about life in Arendale!" "WOW, you are sooo pretty!" "Where is Olaf?" The comments fly around the room. One little girl grabs my hand and is dazzled. "It really is her! She has cold hands!" I hear her squeal.
It isn't hard to feel pretty cool and pretty good about myself at that moment. I start to tell myself that perhaps I am just as awesome as Elsa after all! Maybe deep inside I am the real Elsa! But then as the party ends, I climb back into my old Honda, drive home, and take off the 5 lbs. of makeup I have caked on my face. I look in the mirror and I remember that I am not Elsa at all. I am a poser. In fact, all those compliments that all those kids throw at me aren't actually for me. It is the Disney creators, the movie composers, and maybe Idina Menzel herself (the voice of the Elsa cartoon) who deserve the credit. I am nothing but an imitation... a copy of what Elsa actually is. I can't even call myself Elsa, because I am only a look-a-like character. I am a boring, average girl who has a talent for showing off someone else's best qualities.
There is a life application for this little story. The truth is, we are all posers.
Every person walking the face of the earth has something unique or special about them. We have been given talents that we can develop, utilize, and show off. Sometimes when we do something really well, people start to recognize it. Maybe they get a bit of the starstruck-ness that those kids have at parties. "Wow! you are an amazing singer!" "That building you designed is so impressive!" "You are the best race car driver I've ever seen!" Whatever it is that we do in life when people give us praise it is easy for the compliments to go straight to our head. But we cannot take full credit for our abilities... because we are only a copy. We are a lesser version of God Himself.
God is the best singer, builder, or driver. He is the best everything. He is also the best Father and so instead of hoarding all His skills to himself, He has dispersed them among people. In the Bible, he says, "Let us make man in our image!" The key phrase there is the fact that we are all imitators (images) of God. This is something that can be hard to remember because we often feel so separated from God, but ever since I've started working as a party princess I've decided to be more intentional about remembering who the true star of the show, and of my life, is.
In society today it seems like we are pressured to be anything but humble. People are looked down on for not recognizing their own abilities or trying to get ahead in life. It is a "me first" sort of world right now. Social Media is a toxic platform filled with show-offs. I want you to watch my videos, like my photos, and read my blog (oops!). We like to talk about doing things for "clout". Getting married for clout, dressing for clout, or doing something risky for clout are all phrases I hear and see online fairly often. In a time where being the "best" and letting everyone know what is "cool" is glorified, we must do a quick heart check. Why is it so important for me to be the center of attention?
The Bible talks in great length and detail about the negative aspects of becoming a prideful person. I am going to go as far as to say that being prideful is practically the "unpardonable sin". What do I mean by that? I believe that the "unpardonable sin" is when someone rejects a need or desire for God in their life because they want to do things for themselves. They are not sorry if they do something wrong. They are not interested in changing bad behaviors. The only things that matter to them are the things that benefit their selfish desires. They purposely spite God and what he stands for. Look at what the Bible has to say about proud, arrogant people:
Isaiah 2:7-9 Their land is full of silver and gold; there is no end to their treasures. Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots. 8 Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made.
So people will be brought low and everyone humbled...
Isaiah 3: 16-23 The Lord says, “The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, strutting along with swaying hips, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the Lord will make their scalps bald.”
In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and anklets and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.
Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
2 Corinthians 10:17-18 But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
Perhaps you read these verses and you feel frustrated or scared of God. How could someone so loving speak so harshly about people? It is because He can see their hearts. God is the most reasonable thing out there. Whenever he can show mercy he jumps at the chance! But in these verses, he sees that people are only worried about themselves. That is not an attitude of love, and God is love. He cannot encourage something that goes against His very being. You can't act on love and selfish desire towards someone at the same time. Maybe you think you can... but when you really analyze your thoughts and feelings it is one sentiment or the other.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away... love endures forever.
Sometimes we must give ourselves a reality check. We are not perfect. We are not worthy of admiration. We wish we were and we desire to be, but we are not. The closest thing we can become to perfection is to reflect perfection itself- Jesus. Even in our reflection, we must let people know, "I am not good on my own, I am a look-a-like character for someone else."
This is possibly the hardest battle you will fight- the battle of humility. It goes against our sinful nature. It goes against what society tells us to do. It goes against everything that seems to matter. But when we allow God to receive all the credit for the goodness in the world we are preparing our thoughts and our habits for our future life in heaven. There is no place in heaven, a perfect society, for people who only care or look out for themselves.
I am discovering that the sooner I can learn to act in humility the better my life can become. Suddenly there is no more unhealthy pressure! Suddenly I don't have to worry about being smarter than my co-workers, prettier than my friends, or wittier than my family members. My best effort is all that matters! With this new mindset, my life is able to go from a competition to a team event! People all over the world can share and combine their talents with me to glorify God through acts of service and love. It is the same for you! It becomes so exhausting trying to live up to everyone's standards all the time. What a relief to realize that I don't have to do that anymore!
Maybe after reading all this, you are wondering how you too can find inner peace and freedom from a self-absorbed world. The best way I have learned how to do this is to read the Bible. Ah, I know that sounds so cliche because you've probably heard it a lot... but it is the truth. I am a living, walking testimony of God's grace and my transformation has occurred because I started reading God's book. The Bible shares all the information you could ever need about how to live a stress-free life in harmony and humility with the people around you. By reading the Bible every day and actively communicating with God, you will find the Holy Spirit lighting up your life in ways you never knew He could.
Instead of being like Elsa, I want to be like Jesus. Who do you want to be like?