Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pride: The Great Sin—Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

"There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which everyone in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves.... There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others. The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it ... is ... Humility.... Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil.... Pride is essentially competitive [and] gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.... A proud man will take your girl from you, not because he wants her, but just to prove to himself that he is a better man than you."

"It is pride that has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken people ... but pride always means enmity ... not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God. In God you come up against something that is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as thatand therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparisonyou do not know God at all."

"Many a man has overcome cowardice, or lust, or ill temper by learning to think that they are beneath his dignitythat is, by Pride. The devil laughs. He is perfectly content to see you becoming chaste and brave ... provided, all the time, he is setting up in you the Dictatorship of Pride.... Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense."

"Pleasure in being praised is not Pride. The child who is patted on the back for doing a lesson well, the woman whose beauty is praised by her lover, the saved soul to whom Christ says 'well done' are pleased and ought to be. For here the pleasure lies not in what you are but in the fact that you have pleased someone you ... rightly wanted ... to please.... The real black, diabolical Pride comes when you look down on others so much that you do not care what they think."

"To love and admire anything outside yourself is to take one step away from utter spiritual ruin; though we shall not be well so long as we love and admire anything more than we love and admire God." He "and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into any kind of touch with Him you will, in fact, be humbledelightedly humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life."

"If you meet a really humble man ... probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all. If anyone would like to acquire humility ... the first step is to realize that one is proud.... If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed."

Highlights from chapter 8: The Great Sin, book 3: Christian Behavior in Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.  Click here for a clear view of how this chapter relates to the whole book.


  1. I really like your blogging but the pictures, I think, detract. I would drop them.

    1. Thank you for your honesty. I understand what you mean when you compare the brilliance of C.S. Lewis's writing with mere pictures, but pictures also help people grasp meaning. The subtitle of my blog is Illustrated Summaries of Classic Christian Literature because I noticed there were many blogs and other sources of mere written text, but not much with images that intelligently correspond with each paragraph of text. Jesus was the master Teacher who used vivid word pictures, probably pointing to common things like fields and camels as illustrations of profound spiritual truths while He walked and taught His disciples. I will keep using illustrations on my blog, but take your advice to heart and try my best to avoid any image that might detract from the text and instead be only a plus.