by Neil Anderson


Old No 7? - It's PRIDE.   

When I was a kid, I spent a very long, hot summer moving hand line & wheel line sprinkler pipes in Idaho.  It's ROUGH stuff moving pipe.  Slogging around, ankle deep in thick mud, lifting 40 ft pipes that weigh-in at 50 lbs. (after you dump the water out), and resetting them 50 feet down the field 2x per day is a lot of work.  (BTW - lessons learned on the farm are the origins of the workouts you do daily.)

My help that year was quite a bit older than me.  He mostly drove truck for the farm, but sometimes he'd help move pipe.  According to him, he'd spent a fair amount of time in prison.  He said he was working for the farm that summer to "get right."  

Working along side of him was always interesting.  He'd tell stories all day long.  Mostly about his exciting and dangerous adventures in life and in prison.  Truth be told, I was scared to death of him.  I was sure at any given time, after speaking just the right/wrong comment he'd "shank" me.  He claimed he'd it done to others - once for nothing more than a "look." 

Because of my fear of him, and also because of his entertaining stories, he always had my UNDIVIDED attention when he spoke.

I was paying particularly close attention one day as he was sharing a sermon he'd received from a fire-breathing pastor while on the "inside."  It was the sermon which he claims "changed his life" and helped him get back on track.  His telling of it had a lasting impression on me.  

It was a sermon on PRIDE, or "Old Number Seven" as he'd say.  His relation of this sermon, to me, was masterful.  At a certain point, he'd always (I heard it several times) cross-over from relating what the pastor had said, to somehow slipping into the role of the pastor himself.  His voice would raise several octaves higher as it became louder.  His face would become more animated and he'd throw his arms around dramatically, occasionally pounding his fists on pipe.  Yep, in the middle of a field in Malta, Idaho that pipe would become his pulpit.  The mud, my pew.  It was cool.  I wish I could hear it again. I wish I knew where to find it.  

Here are a couple of things I remember about that sermon.

Pride, he said, is the only of the "Seven Deadly Sins" that has duality.  It is both good and evil.  In some languages there are two words for pride.  In our language we have come to know that there is "good pride," and "bad pride." 

Good Pride

This is a sense of pride that makes you feel good about something you put effort and love into.  It is the type of pride that causes self-respect.  True self-respect is the type of thing that enriches, not only your own life, but also the lives of all who are around you.  A person with self-respect can go amazing places and do great things that only a few can.  This person usually brings others up along with them. 

Bad Pride

Bad Pride is all about itself.  It is self-absorbed. It is self-righteous. It is conceited.  This is the type of pride that causes dis-respect.  It is degrading to all who are around it.  It is the most dangerous attitude of all.  A person who is disrespectful of themselves and to others will be forced into terrible places and bad situations they might not otherwise go.  This person usually brings others down along with them.

There was more.  Much more.  But, at some point I have to relate this to health and fitness, right? 

The beginning of a New Year is a great time for introspection.  It is a great time to analyze what is working in your life, and what isn't.  Regardless of what is, or isn't working in your life, I encourage you this year to take pride in yourself. 

Good Pride - ONLY. 

Taking pride in yourself will help you "get right."  To get right you'll need to become healthy.  Becoming physically healthy through proper exercise and nutrition is the conduit to ALL other forms of health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, financial).  Becoming healthy is the ultimate demonstration of self-respect.  If done with great effort and love it will help you feel the right kind of pride.  This pride will enrich your life and the lives of all who are around you.  It will propel you to amazing places and help you do great things.  As you do these things you will bring others up along with you.