The Big Head of Pride

Pompous Boy by William Sommer 1936

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Pompous Boy

A rather misshaped boy fills this picture. He sits cockeyed on a simple chair in the midst of a stark and dilapidated looking room. Light from a window streams onto his left side casting a shadow on the right. Is he a little boy dressed as a young man? Or is he a young man dressed as a little boy?

One of the things that strike you as odd is the size of his head compared to the rest of his body. His head is huge with a large shock of hair covering his forehead. But his person is tiny. He cannot even reach the floor with his feet. His tie gives him an air of importance but his knickers and striped socks speak of a little boy.

His glassy eyes look straight ahead at nothing. With folded hands he sits motionless and without speech. What can we make of such an odd person?

Well, the title of this painting gives us many clues. He is indeed a boy posing as a man. He fools no one as to his true nature except maybe himself. Probably all our mothers have warned us from time to time, "Now don't go getting a big head!" What does that mean?

A big head is a symptom of pride. It's the most deadly of sins because it's at the back of all other sins. Pride keeps us comparing ourselves with others and we always come out on top. Pride keeps us believing that we are smarter, more talented, more spiritual, and more insightful than other people.

This thinking infects our speech, our actions, our mannerisms, and our tone of voice until the very way we look has changed in the eyes of other people.

A prideful person is actually a little man or woman with a big head. They are unbalanced and unable to see others the way God sees them because they know best. The fall and destruction of a prideful person are certain for God himself will be against them. "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5)

Stop comparing yourself with others and do so only with God. Then you will quickly see your true estate and learn to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God.

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