Thursday, April 17, 2008

Differences Between Proud and Broken People

There are times when I need to take a step back and evaluate my spirit in writing, ministry, and life in general. The following table is helpful in terms of identifying, acknowledging, and repenting of any spirit of pride in my life. It outlines the differences between proud and broken people. Update: One of the commentors informed me the following originated from Nancy Demoss of Life Action Ministries. I am grateful for her insight as it has been helpful to me today.

Proud, Unbroken People Broken People
(1). Focus on the failure of others(1). Are overwhelmed with their own spiritual need (Matthew 5:3, 7:3-5, Luke 18:9-14)
(2). Are self righteous; have a critical, fault finding spirit; look at own life/faults with a telescope but others with a microscope(2). Are compassionate; have a forgiving spirit; look for the best in others (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:12)
(3). Look down, in a condescending spirit, at others (3). Esteem all others as better than self (Phil. 2:3, Rom. 12:10)
(4). Are independent; have desires for everyone else to meet own personal needs(4). Are dependent on God and His grace; recognize others' needs and seek to meet them (2 Cor. 3:4-6, Phil. 2:4)
(5). Always manipulating circumnstances to maintain control; must have everyone do it their way (5). Surrenders control by giving freedom for others to do or see things differently (Rom. 12:1-2)
(6). Have to prove they are always right (6). Are willing to yield to the possibility that they could be wrong, and thus, yield the need to always prove they are right(Rom. 15:2)
(7). Claiming personal rights(7). Yielding personal rights (Eph. 5:21)
(8). Display a demanding spirit(8). Have a giving spirit (Rom. 12:13)
(9). Self-protective of time, rights, reputation (9). Are self-denying (Luke 9:23)
(10). Desire to be served (10). Are motivated to serve others (Matt. 20:26-28, Phil. 2:20-21)
(11). Desire to be a success(11). Desire to be faithful to make others a success (John 3:30)
(12). Desire for self-advancement(12) Desire to promote others (John 3:3)).
(13). Are driven to be recognized and appreciated Have a sense of unworthiness; are thrilled to be used at all; eager for others to get credit, honors and awards (I Tim. 1:12-16)
(14). Cringe when others in the same field are praised, wishing it was them(14). Rejoice when others are lifted up (Rom. 12:15)
(15). Think 'the ministry is privileged to have me!'(15). Think 'I don't deserve to serve in this ministry (2 Cor. 4:7)
(16). Think of what they can do for God(16). Know they can offer nothing to God, and seek for God to work through them in His power (Phil. 3:8-9, Titus 3:5)
(17). Feel confident in how much they know(17). Are humbled by how much they have not learned and wish to learn (Phil. 3:12, Prov. 1:7)
(18). Are self conscious(18). Have little concern with how others view them (Gal. 1:10)
(19). Keep people at arm's lenght(19). Risk getting close to others; are willing to take those risks for the sake of love for others (2 Cor. 6:11-12)
(20). Are quick to blame others(20). Accept personal responsibility; can see and acknowledge personal failure (Matthew 7)
(21). Are concerned with being 'respectable' (21). Are concerned with being real (2 Cor. 4:3-5).
(22). Are concerned about what others think (22). Know all that matters is God and what He knows (I Cor. 4:3-5)
(23). Work hard to maintain image and protect reputation (23). Die to own reputation (Phil. 3:7, Rom. 14:7)
(24). Find it difficult to share their spiritual needs with others (24). Are willing to be transparent with others (2 Cor. 1:12)
(25). Want to be sure no one finds aout about their sin Are willing to acknowledge and confess one's sin; brokenness is the ultimate sign of personal success (Ps. 51:17)
(26). Have a hard time saying, 'I was wrong. Will you forgive me' Are quick to admit fault and seek forgiveness (I John 1:9, James 5:1)
(27). Deal in generalities when confession sin (27). Deal in specifics (Ps. 51:17)
(28). Are concerned about the consequences of their sin (28). Are grived over the root of their sin (Ps. 51:5)
(29). Wait for other party to come and ask forgiveness in a conflict (29). Take the initiative to be reconciled; gets their first (Matthew 5:23-24)
(30). Compare themselves with others and feel deserving of honore (30). Compare themselves with God and feel desparate for mercy (Luke 18:9-14)
(31). Are blind to their true heart condition (31). Walk in the light of true knowledge concerning their own hearts (I John 1:6-7).
(32). Do not display any spirit of repentance, because they don't need it (32). Continually display a spirit of repentance, sensing their need for fresh encounters with God and the filling of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5;18), Gal 5:16)
(33). Spent time reading these words and wondering if _____________ was reading it (33). Thanked the Lord for using words on the internet to bring brokenness to their lives.


Christopher B. Harbin said...


Lin said...

Wow, can I copy this? I would love to share this with my SS class.

(Ouch, I am guilty of many of these) said...

Yes. I received something similar from our Missions Pastor, Dr. John Stam, who had it sent to him by his son. No attribution necessary. I tweaked it here and there. Blessings.

Steve said...

Well, obviously you know me pretty well. So, who'd you use for the right side?

Bob Cleveland said...


This reminds me, in many ways, of Oswald Chambers' statement about the Beatitudes. He said they weren't behaviors to be emulated (a trained ape could do most of them), but rather "road signs" which could tell us whether the Holy Spirit was having His way with us.

Amen to that, and to your post.

greg.w.h said...


Thanks for the self-diagnostic. It comes in a week where I've spent several hours discussing how our equipment diagnoses its own faults and how we report those faults to the outside world. Part of that system-level design includes a short, pre-flight "self-test" that displays test patterns, visual annunciations, and plays aural annunciations so the flight deck crew know the part is working.

One of the toughest things about building a part that would diagnose its own problems is that computers are only as introspective as the designers tell them to be. So they are limited to detecting the faults that we consider possible/likely and that we are able to write a reasonable monitor for.

Your diagnostic reminds me that one of the best uses of the Law in my life is not to condemn myself nor is it to berate my behavior. But what I can use the Law for is as a diagnostic: I can self-examine my motives using the Law to help myself understand how serious I am in my relationship with God.

I arguably can't do that without regeneration (though I suppose I might be able to express the accumulated misery of my sinfulness without regeneration.) But WITH regeneration, as some have pointed out, the Bible offers a designer's insight into how life is supposed to work. And many of its comments provide understanding on how our internal thoughts affect our contentment and both our sense of and our appropriation of abundant living.

Imagining that your list is perfect on the subject of pride--for instance--wouldn't each of us want to take each category and go off in a corner and really determine for ourselves honestly before God where we stand on it?

And before we even attempted that, if we were serious about this, wouldn't we appeal to God--perhaps even fasting for a day before taking this inventory--to reveal to us exactly where we stand?

Can any of us be THAT serious about the list you offered? Even one of us?

Because if even one of us is that serious about your list, it can be transformative for the whole world.

That we would desire to be completely broken of our pride is arguably the highest spiritual calling that we can long for. Sometimes I think the entirety of the earthly life of the redeemed is for the purpose of God repeatedly breaking us so we can see our own pride.

Thanks for providing such a clear picture that contrasts the religious viewpoint v. the biblical one and that--if taken seriously--could lead to the kind of reform in our Convention that is necessary and urgent. And let that reform start in me, dear Lord. Because you Lord, more than anyone else, know how much pride courses through my veins every day.

Thanks for helping light that "fault" report so I can agree with God that it needs to be addressed...again.

Greg Harvey

Jon L. Estes said...

Thanks, not only did I need to be reminded of this, God used it to confirm other truths He is dealing with me on.

Alyce Faulkner said...

A great mirror with which to look into the face of our reality.

We are currently taking the household through a Bible study called the 'Agape Road.' In it he talks of the seven giants that hinder a relationship with the Father.

1. Be Right, 2. Look good, 3. feel good, 4. be in control, 5. remain undisturbed, 6.have a hidden agenda, 7. personal advantage
All of these are on the left side of your chart.

Anonymous said...


Please allow me to add my batman special effects to your post... "Ouch... Ouch... Bopp... Ugh... then number 33... KaPoww!"

Thanks for this much needed post.

david b mclaughlin said...

i see most of myself in the broken column but certainly some myself over in that other column.


Gram said...

i am assuming that it is ok to share this table with some of my friends as well since you indicated to lin that it was okay! thanks! incredible! jan

Ken Coffee said...

Wade, this post is a great measuring tool for us all. I try so hard to be on the broken side, yet I know if I just allow Him to do so the Holy Spirit will take me there Himself. Excellent post. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

This was worth reading and taking to heart.


Anonymous said...

I thank The Lord that he has set me apart from those UNChristian Godless, Unbroken People --- oh, wait...

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. And isn't it amazing how much is just right there before our eyes in scripture?! :)

R. L. Vaughn said...

Some very hard sayings to consider. Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

I was broken, but Jesus put me back together again. :))

Chris Gilliam said...


This list comes from a peice written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss from Life Action Ministries. THey print and distribute this as a book mark. Just thought you might want to know. and might want to give appropriate credit.
Chris said...


Thank you. I will let my missions pastor, Dr. Stam, know. As stated above, he forwarded it to me from an email sent to him with his son. Both did not know where it came from, so we appreciate the information. I reworded a few of the items in the chart, and I will attempt to contact Mrs. Demoss to make sure there is no copyright. If there is, I will happily remove it.

Anonymous said...

I was broken, but Jesus put me back together again. :))

Thu Apr 17, 09:42:00 PM 2008

Uh oh. He only 'disciplines' those who are His. :o)

Just some food for thought as it is an ongoing thing.

Anonymous said...

I was raised Southern Baptist - My Daddy graduated from Southwestern in 1947 and was a minister for 35 years. July 1979 my wife and I decided we could no longer be Southern Baptist so we pulled away. To be honest we now belong to and support the CBF. There is some of me on the Proud side, but I pray, strive and try to achieve to some small measure that of a broken person. However, over the past 29 years in trying to do those things I have been called a moderate, a liberal, and I guess you could say some would even say I was a heretic. But, I know the work of Jesus in my life and He is the only one that is going to judge me. I don't think His question to me (when I stand before Him) is going to be -- what do you think about someone drinking a glass of wine? Or do you think women should be Sr Pastors? Or do You think women should teach men? His question might be the same one He ask Peter -- but who do you say I Am.

Mary B. said...

Interesting chart and interesting comments. I don't do well with self-examination. However, I've discovered an odd phenomenon. What I see in others and what irritates me in others is almost always what I'm guilty of but am blind to.

This has been proven over and over to me as I listen to someone criticize another. As I'm listening, I can clearly see that the criticizer is obviously guilty (but ignorant of his guilt) of the fault in another he is criticizing. I find this amusing as I see it in others, and enlightening as I apply it to myself.

Rex Ray said...

Woe! Oh woe is me! It’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect.
Sure, that’s a joke, but let me brag some…once I wanted to work at a housing development and the Forman said I could try finishing the sheetrock on one house. The price of labor was $500 per house. He wouldn’t let me do anymore because he said, “You’ve done such a good job, everyone will want them this way, and I can’t afford to have the other workers spend that much time on them.”

Wade’s post is good, but a hard question is: ‘Does God want us to be proud or hang our heads in shame of the miracle He has done in making us new? I know He’s still working on us, but if that work only produces a frown instead of a smile, then I think the devil has twisted something.

PS, Joe W. put a smile on my face with the words of Batman.

Gram said...

i don't think being broken and humble means walking around hanging your head down with a frown on your face. being broken of pride brings joy!

Anonymous said...

Wow, great chart. I needed to read this. It's amazing how God uses other bloggers to minister to each other. I'm living and serving in North Africa and have recently gone through a signigicant time of being broken. Because I don't have a my group of guys that can help me process while drinking some Starbucks I check the blogs and guess what...this week in blogs from all over the place guys are writing about being broken. Thanks...I needed go drink a Starbucks for me.