Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 8: Beware of Pride

How many of us would willingly approach a house with a vicious-looking dog snarling at us through the fence? As a kid I had to walk past a dog like this on my way to and from school, and it was the worst part of my day. But after completing this week’s reading, and completing a self-inventory of manifestations of pride, I sort of feel like I should hang this sign around my neck.

This week’s reading was amazing. I have always loved President Benson’s talk on pride, but as I listened to it in the car I felt like this beloved prophet was speaking directly to me. The road rage that so often rears its ugly head is actually a manifestation of pride—that my time is more valuable than the car in front of me. The place I need to be is more important, perhaps even dire, than theirs. I find myself looking around at all the yards and homes that I pass while I am driving. “I sure wish I had a pond and willow tree like that,” I’ll sigh wistfully. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have more land?” “I bet that cute little house has a much smaller payment than ours.” The truth is that less than two years ago we were crammed into what my family lovingly refers to as ‘the shoebox’ on a military base. I’m not sure I was ever happier than when our house was finally finished and we were able to move in and enjoy things we hadn’t had in three years: carpet, a couch big enough to fit our whole family, a kitchen more than two people could fit in, etc. You get the idea. And now I find myself still looking around, envying and coveting everything I don’t have. Pride!

In John Gottman’s book, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, the fourth principle is Letting Your Partner Influence You. He even has a section entitled Learning to Yield, which immediately put me in mind of Mosiah 3:19: “For the natural man is an enemy to God . . . unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord . . .”

H. Wallace Goddard also uses this doctrine. In Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage he says, “The natural mind is an enemy to truth” (pg. 71). He also says that “any time we feel irritated with our spouses, that irritation is not an invitation to call our spouses to repentance, but an invitation to call ourselves to repent” (pg. 77). Goddard insists that irritation is actually a blessing to all marriages!

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