Downsizing our ego
Downsizing our ego

Downsizing our ego

When a Syro-Phoenician woman begged Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter, Jesus replied, “First, let the children eat all they want, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

Depending on the size of your ego, coupled with your understanding of what Jesus meant, this response could flare you up and bring the worst out of you.

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But the woman responded, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” What a gentle and wise response from a woman of controlled ego!

“For such a reply,” Jesus said, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

Thank God it was the mother, not the father, who went to Jesus. A father might have taken offence at Jesus’ reply, blown up his ego, and spoiled everything. Men ought to downsize our ego, don’t you think?

The woman’s faith, patience, humility, and reverence for Jesus blessed her with deliverance for her demon-possessed daughter. Ego blocks humility from flourishing, and one way to cut ego to size is not to take offence.

Of course, I know women too have their ego, but let me ask: Whose ego was responsible for the beheading of John the Baptist—Herod the king or Herodias, his illegal wife?

Herodias, angry with the prophet for pointing out the illegality of her marriage to Herod, told her azonto or highlife dancing daughter to ask for the prophet’s head.

Any level-headed king would have found a way to refuse such a murderous request. Instead, Herod, “because of his oaths and his dinner guests, ordered that her request be granted” (Matthew 14:10).

A bloated ego is unable to choose right reasoning over a personal desire to put up pretences and appearances.

And this Herod Antipas was already a highly egoistic person, having inherited it from his father Herod the Great who killed thousands of boys below the age of two because he feared infant Jesus.

If our character and temperament are weak, our ego will expose us in the face of the least provocation. This is almost like saying that “If the fundamentals are weak, the exchange rate will expose you!"

The fundamentals of the personality—what makes us thick or thin—are our character and the temperaments we exhibit in our daily living. Therefore, to downsize our ego, we must work on our character and temperament.

We all want to protect our reputation, of course, but the excessive desire to protect reputation can stand in the way of humility and the building of good character.

You’ve probably heard this boasting before: “How dare him speak to me like that? Does he know who I am? Who does he think he is? I will show him where power lies!”

Can you detect the display of ego in that boastful utterance? Whoever speaks like that can “cut his nose to spite his face”—a proverb that points to the deeply-seated pride in an egoistic personality.

It takes the workings of untamed ego for a village chief to attack and try to usurp the powers of another chief with the view to conquering and annexing the defeated ruler.

That used to happen in ancient days in traditional societies. But how should we explain a replica of this in modern days and in peace time when one country attacks a sovereign country to annex it?

Again, trace the remote causes of wars and you cannot fail to encounter the bloated ego of blood thirsty men.

Some court cases get protracted with dire consequences because the aggrieved parties don’t want alternative dispute resolution. Consequently, their huge ego locks them in self-destructive legal battle.

One positive human attitude that ensures family and social cohesion is forgiveness, but forgiveness is unattainable if people are unable to accept their wrongdoing due to their oversize ego.

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A man once told me, “I will never forgive that guy even if God comes down and tells me to forgive him!”

I blocked my ears from hearing such a sacrilegious statement. Only an arrogant person with a large ego can spew out such unguarded contention.

Our sheer vulnerability as human beings should humble us and tame our ego, because “we are like grass or flowers of the field; in the morning we look fresh and beautiful; by evening we are withered” (Psalm 103;15). This fact alone ought teach us to downsize our ego.

Everybody needs somebody; consequently, for no man is an island unto himself; if your business is thriving, it is because people are patronising our products and services; that is why respect for customers is paramount in business ethics.

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Moreover, God endows us with abilities so we can help others; not to lord it over them; if we allow our egos to have the better of us, we are setting ourselves up against the wishes of God Almighty.


The writer is a publisher, author, writer-trainer and CEO of Step Publishers.
E-mail: [email protected]

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