“If you consulted your business experience instead of your ugly individualistic philosophy, you would know that believing in himself is one of the commonest signs of a rotter.” -G.K Chesterton, in the chapter two of Orthodoxy
I’d highly recommend reading G.K Chesterton’s Orthodoxy as well as Heretics. Insightful books written a century ago which apply directly to today.
In chapter two of Orthodoxy, Chesterton recounts speaking to a “prosperous publishing friend” in which the friend commented about a man being able to make it because he believes in himself. In a moment of wit, and inspiration, Chesterton retorts that those who believe in themselves the most are in the insane asylum.
Though more needs to be said to defend his position, which I will not do here, I will simply state that I side with Chesterton: most everybody believes in themselves. Even if people are not successful or haven’t done what they’ve set out to do, they will justify themselves and make some sort of excuse. I’ve hear some say things like, “I don’t define success that way.” They will say to their friends over coffee, “Yea, they definitely are making a lot of money and working hard, but that’s not how I’d define success. They’re probably miserable. I’m happy with my life.”
Even now, you may be trying to reason against Chesterton, and this is a sure sign that you believe in yourself. We want to make ourselves look better because in many ways we believe we are better.
Even if we may not think we are better off than others, we still will not let others dare tell us how miserable we are. We will not let some other lowlife scum dare speak to us in a way that displeases us. We will only let certain people speak the truth to us. But if some person says the truth, that we are sinners and self-centered believers in ourselves, we will plug our ears and say “they think they’re better than me.”
This justification of ourselves, this belief in ourselves, this love of ourselves above all is sin. Sin is a deep problem in all of us. But Jesus ascended even deeper and provides a way for his sheep to ascend higher, to get above and out of ourselves and to see something far more glorious that what we want to see.