Humility and Pride in Relationships

Humility and Pride in Relationships

John’s disciples… came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, [Jesus] who was with you on the other side of the Jordan – the one you testified about – look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.… That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less. (John 3:25–30)

John the Baptizer saw people leaving his ministry to join Jesus’ ministry. Instead of being jaded by this, John was joyful. John did not see this as a problem, but as a praise. John and Jesus had a healthy relationship because they were both humble, which allowed them to work together instead of competing.

Humility is admittedly a goal we should be constantly pursuing, but it is never a destination at which we’ve arrived. Perhaps the most arrogant thing a person could say about themselves would be that they are humble.

When it comes to relationships, there are three kinds of relationships in terms of pride and humility:

  1. Proud + Proud = Competitive Relationship

When two proud people are in a relationship, they are constantly competing, striving, and seeking to outdo one another. There is an ongoing battle to see who will be the victor, person in control, and the strong and successful one.

  1. Proud + Humble = Abusive Relationship

When a proud person is in relationship with a humble person, it is common to see that the humble person is used and abused. The proud person becomes domineering, overbearing, and selfish at the expense of the humble person.

  1. Humble + Humble = Healthy Relationship

The only way to have a truly holy, happy, and healthy relationship is between two humble people. They build one another up rather than beat one another up. They seek to be considerate of one another when making decisions and empathetic toward one another in times of trouble. This was the kind of relationship that Jesus and John had.

Are you more proud or earnestly seeking humility by the power of the Holy Spirit? What kinds of relationships do you most commonly have?

Mark Driscoll
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