Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud. NKJV (10th cent. BC)
St. Anthony the Great
Abba Pambo asked Abba Anthony, 'What ought I to do?' and the old man said to him 'Do not trust in your own righteousness do not worry about the past, but control your tongue and your stomach.' (5th cent. AD)
St. Silouan the Athonite
Unbelief proceeds from pride. The proud person believes he will know everything with his mind and from science, but the knowledge of God is impossible for him, because God is known by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. God reveals Himself to humble souls. To these the Lord shows His works, which are unknowable to the mind. (20th cent. AD)
As is demonstrated above, one of the beauties of Orthodoxy is its consistent witness of God to the world. Whether one goes back one day, one century, or even three millenia, we find one constant unchanging message from God to mankind through mankind. Whether we look into scriptures, the writtings of the fathers, or the saints, we find one unified the message.
One such message is that of the destruction brought about by our pride. Pride is enemy number one, it deceives individuals into a state of blindness; A state wherein we don’t want to know the truth because we would prefer to be right in our own minds rather than right in truth. Pride can appear in a myriad of ways. It can show itself as a notion that says, “I am good, and even better than others”. Or, it may rear its head by a notion that tells us that “we are smarter than others”. In any case, it always accomplishes one thing; it closes the possibility of our inner understanding (the nous) to God.
This reality is something that we should be aware of both in dealing with ourselves, and in dealing with others. It can be helpful to ask oneself regularly, “is this the truth according to the unbroken witness of Orthodoxy, or is it my own preference?” When dealing with others, it is impossible to bring such a question about and expect any positive results. It is in dealing with others that the instruction of Nikolai Velimirovich is of immeasurable help.