Pride also affects our ability to share our burdens. We can refuse to share our secrets and trials when we’re afraid others will judge us, but we can also keep them to ourselves when we think we can solve the problems on our own.
It seems men are particularly prone to doing this. We like tinkering. We like finding our way without asking for directions (though this is largely a bygone trait now with GPS’s and smartphones). There are far more women who are in counseling than men, even though the gap is shrinking.
We (and here I mean those of us with pride issues, not just men) don’t want to admit weakness or that we need other people’s help to do things. We want to be seen as competent and in control of our lives. And this pride is killing us in several ways.
First, we don’t get the help we need. We’re not as wise as we like to think we are. We can’t see all sides of a situation, determine all outcomes or their likelihood, or see all options available to us for our complex issues. By definition, we can’t foresee the unforeseen, so even wise decisions can backfire.
When we let our pride get in the way and force us to keep our issues to ourselves, we rob ourselves of the wisdom, insight, experience, and creativity of our friends and family. Someone you know may have the perfect solution to your problem, but they can’t give it to you if you don’t let them know you what your problem is.
Second, we keep ourselves from true Christian community. In Acts 2:44, it says the early Christians were together and shared all things in common. They shared their possessions and were with each other constantly. I have to believe that they shared their trials as well, or else how could such a community thrive? They had a tight bond with each other, and that doesn’t form between strangers. To really be knit together, we have to be helping each other with our struggles and trials and that requires letting ours be known.
Third, that pride can lead to looking down on others who are sharing their problems. “Well, fix it!” or, “If I had that problem, I’d keep it to myself rather than whining to the whole group,” you might say. These are the wrong attitudes. It takes God to change a heart, and our hearts are at the root of nearly all of our problems. God usually uses others in His works, whether to offer encouragement or a much-needed rebuke or to be an accountability partner or just to listen and understand.
Another way to look at it is to imagine your life like an automobile factory. No factory is run by just one person. It can be overseen by one person, but there are specialists who put the doors on, make the engines, put the wheels and tires on, etc. There are also other workers who are in charge of shipping, receiving parts, and accounting. Few people, if any, have enough knowledge to do all of the jobs in the factory competently. So they seek the help of those who know about a particular job.
Likewise, your life has many facets and, though you have the final say in all, you don’t have all the answers. Seek help and wisdom, from God first, but also from others, and you will find your burdens greatly lifted and be able to help others with their burdens.