Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
— Proverbs 16:18
The same two kinds of pride show up in many languages. Both kinds have to do with being majestic or exalted in some way. One kind of pride is good—for example, when parents view the development of their children as remarkable. But the other kind of pride is very bad.
Throughout Proverbs we read about the good development that can happen when someone pursues wisdom. True wisdom is gained through God. And even though a wise person can go through many ups and downs in life, the wisdom they’ve gained will help to hold their life together.
But beware of trying to keep it all together on your own. Beware of the pride that makes you think that anything you built on your own is worth more. Or that because you built it by yourself you won’t need anyone’s help to hold it together. Or, most dangerous of all, that because you have been self-sufficient, you are a greater person than people who have relied on others.
That kind of pride leads to destruction. Poetically this verse is saying that if you have built something without God, then it isn’t built very well. It’s not built to last. Sooner or later, the so-called majestic life you built without God will simply fall apart.
Father God, keep us from the foolish pride that prompts us to build our lives on the rickety version of success prized by this world. Amen.