Hard work leads to success, and success leads to pride. Pride is not all bad. It is fundamentally about self-respect or valuing your self-esteem. However, when we get so focused on our own self-serving rewards, we become arrogant. We feel the need to assert superiority over others, and this is what leads to pride’s downfall. Pride diminishes our self-awareness. We become so preoccupied with our own needs and wants. Because of this, we lose sight of what God had intended for us and what He wants to accomplish through us.
Were there times when you felt so proud of yourself that you wanted to let others know of your success and accomplishments? Do you think it was the right thing to do at that time?
For this podcast, we will talk about a story which revolves around the life of Ethan Holmes, a successful real estate tycoon, his ambitious wife Elaina, and their friends and family.
Ego and Its Consequences
Ethan has a successful real estate business. He is in the same industry as rival Ashley who also owns a real estate company. Ethan’s company goes public and was the first to do that in the area. Ethan and Ashley both pitched for a big contract and eventually Ethan won and secured the contract. He was on top of the world with his unbeatable power and influence.
He then felt a sting of anger and jealousy from Ashley as she did not acknowledge Ethan’s win. Ethan expressed his frustration to Elaina, his wife. During the time that Ethan and Elaina would host parties for their other friends, Elaina thought of a plan as a means to one up on Ashley. Elaina suggested to stage a grand event to celebrate Ethan’s win and invite Ashley as the guest of honor. They would use this chance to humiliated Ashley and crush her confidence in front of other people. The couple’s friends also agreed that it would be a good idea. Ethan wasn’t sure at first, but he loved his wife and agreed to do the event.
Ashley, however, found out about the plan through other friends and she wasn’t backing out. During the event, Ashley confronted Ethan publicly and announced that she bought shares in his company and is now the majority owner. She wanted to seek control of the operations, ousting Ethan in his own company. Ethan’s plan backfired and he was so humiliated. He lost his company and his fortune. His reputation was crushed and eventually lost his life due to a broken heart.
What can you say about Ethan, Elaina, and their friends? Do you feel sorry for them, for what eventually transpired at the party?
What can you say about Ashley? Do you think she did the right thing of buying majority shares from Ethan’s company?
When Victory is Not Enough
Why did Ethan, a successful man allow his victory to be overshadowed by his rival’s dignity? Why do you think he still felt insecure? What role did his wife play in all of this? Is Ethan at fault to listen to his wife, Elaina?
It was all about greed and pride. It wasn’t enough just to win. He wanted to be the most successful. Ethan and Elaina still planned for Ashley to be humiliated. Ethan’s downfall came from being so proud of himself, thinking that he had one up on Ashley but ended up losing his own company in the process. Perhaps he also felt threatened and wanted to be the only one who was very successful.
Elaina was the devil’s advocate in this situation. She was the one who suggested to humiliate Ashley in the guise of “honoring” her at the event. But as a businessman, or any person for that matter, Ethan should’ve considered all things regardless of who the suggestion came from. Even if his wife and his friends’ suggestions had his best interest at heart, he knew right from wrong. When pride gets in the way, everything becomes like a competition, and you’d tend to think only of your own interests. Both Ethan and Ashley were only thinking of themselves. They devised plans to humiliate one another, all because of ego. We see a lot of the same scenarios either in sports, or in politics.
Should Ethan place so much trust in his wife and his friends and disregard his own instincts? Do you think God was in this situation at all?
Regardless of who gives you advice, you should always be led by God’s voice. You have a moral sense of what’s right and wrong. You shouldn’t move forward with a plan that can harm or humiliate others. Doing such things do not lift you up, rather leads to your own demise.
It doesn’t sound like God was in this situation. With all his success, he didn’t take the time to thank God for His graces. There are times when success goes to a person’s head, and they go off track. Ethan didn’t have the right mindset from the start. He was always seeking validation, power, and control. His motives took the wrong turn when he wanted his competition to fail just because his success was not acknowledged. At the end, he was also too weak to deal with the consequences.
What is the lesson that we can learn from Ethan’s story?
Always have God with you in all your successes and undertakings. Do not lose your spiritual side and don’t forget where all your graces come from. Let not pride get in your head but seek the wisdom that comes from God.
Pride leads to Disgrace.
The podcast story was inspired by Haman’s Rage against Mordecai in Esther 5: 9-14.
Haman was wrapped up in his own self-worth and wanted everyone to bow down to him and give him honor. He was so happy and excited that he’s being honored, and that the King chose him. But then he got so mad at Mordecai being disrespectful for not honoring him. Haman was full of pride and his wife, Zeresh and friends fed that ego. That was what he wanted at that time and that was what they did.
What does Zeresh’s values show in her advice and relationship with Haman? What does it say about Zeresh and their friends? What does it say about Haman?
They’re all encouraging Haman to do what’s wrong, giving him the impression that he’s the greatest and encouraging his ego. They themselves don’t have values. Haman was only thinking about himself. Sometimes deep-seated hatred goes a long way. Haman hated the Jews, especially Mordecai for not acknowledging his status as next in power to the King. But with his own vested interests, Haman set himself up for his own humiliation. Esther was the hero in this situation. She persuaded the King to retract an order to kill the Jews and her cousin, Mordecai. It was because of her that Haman’s plans did not push through.
Like Haman, Ethan was blinded by his ego. He was then humiliated, and he lost everything. This also gives us a reminder to do good towards others, no matter how successful, high, or powerful you get. Some people might one day have an opportunity to either help or hurt you.
Pride can lead to destruction. If we become blinded by arrogance and the desire to be superior to others, we become less aware of God’s presence and we lose sight of His plans for us. Pride is never satisfied, and it can lead you to do foolish things. But with humility comes wisdom and satisfaction. All graces come from God. Trust God and obey God. If we are humble enough to give thanks and live out our Christian ministry, then we can live a life of happiness, peace, and contentment.