Next only to associating a partner with the Almighty God, pride is the greatest sin a human being of any faith can easily commit. It is summed up in the believe that somebody is somehow someone superior to the rest of humanity. Its consequence is always the proverbial fall that follows it sooner or later.
Pride is a deadly sin or no-go area of infraction because God is too Great to be competed against by any being in any of His Attributes. His sole sovereignty surrounds everyone and everything. He alone needs no-one and nothing and has the power to do and undo according to His unfettered will even though He has lent a limited version of will to mankind to see who is best in conduct among them.
Like Satan, their prototype, proud people are doomed to eternal punishment unless they repent and retrace their steps before the transition to the next life. This was the warning delivered by Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him): “God resists the proud and gives more grace to the humble.” According to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), “None shall enter Paradise who harbours an atom’s weight of pride.”
Pride is a liability not only to its patron or practitioner but the entire society or nation from which it exerts great costs. Proud people propel the inordinate and immodest material competition otherwise called the rat-race ravaging the fabric of our society. Thus, the “I pass my neighbour” syndrome suffered by all classes of Nigerians from CEOs to Okada riders is the major fuel for the mindless corruption plaguing almost all the vital institutions and strata in the nation.
Life stops being simple and sinless once pride steps into it. An oversized ego is the one burden that weighs down spiritual progress more than any other. All those “Your Excellency,” “His Highness,” and worst of all “Her Majesty,” etc that we shower on mere mortals subtracts much from the monotheism that Jews, Christians and Muslims claim. They that answer these divine appellations would also have an added hard case to argue when we are all gathered before the Almighty God on Judgement Day.
The terrifying tragedy is that now very few Nigerians even belief that pride is the grievous offense against God and man that it is. Everybody including clergymen is shunning humility and working religiously to become a “big” boy or man or madam. Status symbols such as armoured cars, luxury condos, private jets and obscene yachts are the in-thing in a nation that imports toothpicks and rice. Since it is impossible for everyone to be a “big” anything at the same time, some of us resort to begging, borrowing, embezzling, duping, stealing, terrorising, vote-rigging and even kidnapping and killing just to keep above the Joneses.
In the same vein, those of us who are unable to partake in any of these Satanic shortcuts still struggle senselessly to live above our means. Debt, premature deaths and rampant divorce are the result; and there is no better formula for individual and national bankruptcy as well as socioeconomic ruination. Broken families, street children and poverty produced by the pride which drives ordinary people to extravagant lifestyles can only continue to bode a bleak future for Nigeria or any nation.
Pride, according to a popular Hausa adage, is the crown for losers. It always produces a lose-lose situation. It is the enemy of every good thing that will move man and country forward – accountability, benevolence, hard-work, honesty, prudence and justice. Peace, prosperity and happiness can only be created and sustained by humility, also called low-profile. As former US president Calvin Coolidge put it: “The secret of happiness is to live BELOW your means.” Humble is the real great.