For those of you who don’t know, I was an English major in college. It’s a small college, so I ended up taking 98% of my classes with the same professor. I love this professor and count him as one of the people who has significantly influenced my life……but in all honesty, the classes did get a bit repetitive. After the second semester, I pretty much had the syllabus memorized and became an expert on how to do my projects and write my papers the “Travers” way. One of the things I appreciated though, was the fact that I had a pretty significant glossary of literary terms in my brain, and it will be forever written on the walls of my mind after a 4 year repetition of the same key terms. One of the terms that really stuck with me was the term hubris.
Here I will pause, so that you can pick yourself up off the floor after being blown away by my extravagant display of know-it-allness.
Hubris is the term for the fatal flaw in the most well-known literary characters. It’s in Othello and King Lear; it’s in Voldemort, Galbatorix, and Sauron. Even Odysseus, Elizabeth Bennett, and Harry Potter can’t escape the hubris. Even though I’m not a well-known literary character, it seems that I can’t escape it either.
Hubris is pride. Ugly, all-consuming, far from the heart of God pride. Hubris touched each one of the characters I listed, but some with different results. The villains are obvious-the Dark Wizard who thinks he can conquer death, the newlywed prince who ends up murdering his wife-the fatal flaw is their undoing as they each face the consequences of their villainy. But what of Elizabeth Bennet and everyone’s favorite nerdy wizard? They display pride in different actions and situations, but the moment of their awareness of the fatal flaw becomes a catalyst for change. Elizabeth comes face-to-face with her pride, and takes immediate action against it. Her story moves in a completely different direction and she is permanently changed. When Harry realizes he can’t defeat Voldemort alone, well, I won’t spoil the end for you if you havn’t read it. =)
My hubris has taken quite of few hits these past couple days and left me in need of some serious self-examination. Pride says that you can’t touch me, you can’t hurt me, you can’t make me. Pride is a wall which I can “safely” hide behind and shout to God and everyone else that I am enough, and that I don’t need anything or anyone else but me. I’m struggling to write this, because I doubt my ability to write an honest post about my struggle with pride without pride sneaking in and displaying the ugliness of my soul to everyone reading. Even as I write this sentence, I’m angry at myself that I keep personifying pride as if it is some force acting against me and not my own flesh warring against my spirit. Pride is the furthest thing from Christ, who lived a life of humilty beyond our comprehension. He lowered himself from the throne of heaven to the dusty earth, and then to the death of a common thief. With my heart so full of ugliness and my inability to do anything worthwhile on my own, how could I even think to aspire to self-reliance and arrogance?
I could end here, but the good news for me is that it doesn’t end here. One of my favorite Bible verses says that “His mercies are new every morning.” Life would be unbearable, and I would be unbearable if God’s mercy did not extend to me every second of every day. Christ was nailed to the cross for my pride and all the rest of my fatal flaws, and the glorious result of His sacrifice is that I can stamp down my pride and ask Christ to replace it with His humilty.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11).