Pride is a promiscuous sin and begets bastard iniquities all over the landscape of any given life. But one sin fathered by pride and frequently unnoticed is depression. In a fallen world there may be numerous factors contributing to depression, darkness, deep sadness: Death, sickness, chemical imbalances, sin, guilt, broken relationships, failures, regrets, etc. I grant all of that, and this is not meant as a one-size-fits-all diagnosis for you or someone you know.
But pride is idolatry of self. Pride pretends to be sitting in a palace, on a throne. Pride imagines importance, glory, and authority. Pride is brash, pride is haughty, pride is self-assured, self-serving, self-loving, self-vindicating. Pride is self-worship.
As it turns out, fallen, sinful people are losers. Left in their sin, people are naked, exposed, ashamed, scrambling for leaves. And thus the need for lots of pretending and wild self-aggrandizing imagination. Pride is a liar and a deceiver, and tells a tall tale to cover the shame. Pride re-tells the Fall, guilt, sin, and death renaming these curses as virtues, personality traits, gifts, callings, differences. In the history of the world, the race of Adam which is at war with God and His grace is a Naked Empire. The city of man, as Augustine called it, is more than just an emperor with no clothes, it’s an entire empire full of naked, guilty people.
People are small, people are mortal, people are weak, people really are naked under all their clothes. But pride hates shame; pride hates humility. Pride is opposed to everything weak, everything small.
But pride is destined to make you sad. Pride is destined to make you despair. This is because apart from Christ people are losers. Apart from Christ, you are naked, ashamed, guilty, alone. Pride lies and tells a different story, but self-worship, self-love, self-assurance has to look in the mirror. You have to worship your image, and as many people worship the image, they become more and more empty, more and more hopeless because look at you: you are a lousy god.
When you are self-absorbed, you are obsessed with a black hole that only sucks away life. Pride goes before a fall. And if you don’t fall, God will push you down. He casts down the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. The good news of the gospel is that when you humble yourself beneath the mighty hand of God, He will lift you up. If you boast in your strength, in your wisdom, in your theological prowess, if you are still trying to scrape together something respectable, trying to prove yourself, you must know that you will fall, and you will come face to face with your god, and it should make you sad. But if you get off your high horse and admit that you are shameful, disgraced, guilty, naked before the throne of grace, God will lift you up out of the miry clay and set your feet on a Rock that cannot be moved.
Sometimes depression is just self-absorption. Sometimes after people have fallen from their lies, after God has thrown down your castle of cards, the pride remains. Sometimes people in the most messed up situations with nothing left to hold on to still hold on to pride, still cling to themselves. And then in their darkness and confusion and pain, all that is left is themselves.
But if you want to be truly happy, if you want to find peace, lower yourself. Go down to the ground. Lose yourself. Let go of your pride. Stop trying to protect yourself. Stop trying to save yourself. And then cry out to God for mercy. Cry out for grace. And be sure that you will find it.