Pride: a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc. … a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.

Pride is a scary thing. Scary in the fact that it usually comes up and we don’t see it. It rears its ugly head always too late for us to see it but always in time for others to see it. It’s so scary in fact that in 1 John 2:16 it’s one of the things that John mentions as things not of the Father: “For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world.”

Why talk about this? Because this is the temptation of every leader. It’s a temptation I find myself constantly falling into. It’s something my wife always calls me out on. Pride is a blind spot.

Let me explain:

I get a new boss today. My church went outside and hired a family pastor to oversee birth through college. Why is that a big deal? I oversee jr high through college. Ouch. In all fairness, I understand why they did it. It wasn’t malicious on their end at all and I really like the guy coming in and I’m excited to work with him (I’ll post more about this in another post) but it still was hurtful to my pride. I’m not going to lie, I freaked out a bit. The definition of “pride” you read at the top became a living breathing organism named Justin Knowles. For a few weeks I was not myself.

Here are a few thoughts as I look back over the last month when it comes to MY pride, my blind spot. But if I’m assuming right, it is and can be for any leader as well. Here is what I noticed in me and maybe, just maybe, you see it in you too:

  • It’s not attractive. My wife was quick to let me know that. My wife Kristin AKA “the love & Live in Holy Spirit” of my life. It’s amazing (and I’m thankful) how a spouse can reality check you in the most loving ways.
  • It’s also not attractive for the people you work with daily. My guess if there was ever a time where they questioned following me as a leader, it would have been in the last month. Dang it.
  • I was focused more on keeping my title than keeping my team healthy and walking through change with them.
  • In my panic and scramble to keep my title, I was trying to make things work in my favor and I got the hopes up and then crushed the spirits of my team members. Pride makes you focus solely on yourself and you don’t see the wake of destruction until after.
  • I was not thinking about how I can better set up my new supervisor and instead I was thinkning about how I can better set up myself.
  • Pride is not of the Lord. It’s such a human thing and a thing I struggle with.
  • Pride took my eyes off what I have been called to do and made me focus on what I felt like I deserved to have. What a dangerous place to be as a leader.

I’m grateful for a God who is quick to forgive but who is constantly teaching me and humbling me. I hope and pray I continually work on this as a husband, leader and pastor.