Because of our emphasis on community here at Beneath the Tangles, we’re pleased to bring you a guest post written by community member Micah Marshall! Micah is a frequent commenter and runs his own Christian anime blog, Christian Anime Reviews.
While we are a Christian website, one of our goals here at Beneath the Tangles is to foster discussion with anime fans of all religions. We hope that you enjoy reading what our community has to offer and will consider submitting a guest post of your own. Remember, we welcome posts from all writers, regardless of their beliefs!
General Disclaimer: Beneath the Tangles does not necessarily advocate the theological views expressed in any article labeled “Guest Post.”
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Have you ever had someone ask you at some point in your life if everything was alright? If you were adequately handling stress, pursuing your goals, or keeping your emotions in check? Did someone genuinely care about you during a time of trial, and you blew them off, insisting that you were doing fine? If so, then you probably have experienced the deadly power of pride over your life, the parasite that never stops feeding off your flesh, and the fear that will never disappear. Pride, according to Dictionary.com, is “a high opinion of oneself cherished in thought or shown in action, whether by importance, self-worth, or merit.” This doesn’t necessarily mean the all “high and mighty” attitude, but can be more prevalent in the least boastful of people. In fact, Anri, Masaomi, and Mikado from the Japanese anime Durarara!! all held pride deep inside their hearts, not finding peace until they came to terms with each other.
Within the complicated, interconnected plot that is Durarara!!, the three main protagonists are all hiding deadly secrets from each other, which end up placing the future of modern Ikebukuro, Japan and themselves at great risk. Each has their own troubled past that still continues to haunt their present, and neither will tell the others about their struggles.
Beautiful high school girl Anri has been given the terrible gift of a demon sword named Saika, known as The Slasher by the public, after murdering her alcoholic father. Saika’s sole desire is to love others, and, not understanding how to show this emotion, she takes control of human beings in the city, and forces them to commit mass murder, placing much unrest and hatred towards itself. Although Anri was not responsible for the horrible acts done by her sword, she has strong fear that her friends will judge her personally, calling her a parasite and a leech.
The stereotypical class clown Masaomi, leader of the infamous Yellow Scarves group, is dealing with the heavy guilt of seeing his best friend Anri injured by The Slasher, a person believed to be a violent member of the Dollars gang. Remembering that his ex-girlfriend Saki was captured and critically injured by another gang in his past, Masaomi unfairly blames his friend’s attack on himself. Feeling like he had no other choice, Masaomi seeks revenge against the Dollars, ordering his gang to commit constant violent attacks on them. Keeping his friend’s interests ahead and attempting to protect his reputation, Masaomi, likewise to Anri, keeps his personal struggles a secret.
The shy transfer student Mikado, seen as an innocent, weak high school sophomore, is actually the leader of the popular Dollars’ gang. Originally started as a joke to gather the Ikebukuro community together and make a difference for good, the Dollars slowly grew into larger numbers as rumors of its existence spread across the city. Soon, every criminal offense and mass murder committed was claimed as the Dollar’s doing, and Mikado didn’t know what to do. He didn’t ask his friends for help because he was afraid of their response back to him.
All three protagonists felt that if their private secrets were revealed to each other, their self-worth and importance would decrease. Most importantly, pride manipulated their minds, forcing them to psychologically fear judgment from each other. Anri, Mikado, and Massaomi all felt that they could handle their problems on their own, but, without knowing it, they were refusing judgment-free help. Ultimately, this precaution of protecting their hearts from getting hurt ended up doing more damage, and made their relationships very shaky near the end of the anime.
All of Ikebukuro was almost taken over by an evil, violent gang as a result of their selfish actions, and was only reversed when they all decided to tell the truth. Known as the wisest man of all time, King Solomon of the Bible explained this best in the book of Proverbs: “Pride comes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before the fall” (Proverbs 16:18, NET).
Another way of putting it, what Anri, Massaomi, and Mikado all experienced in Durarara! was shame, which was done through pride’s power, causing them to fear the worst. Luckily, condemnation is not something that God places upon the shoulders of believers. In fact, God, giving up his Godly powers, came down to earth as a baby boy, grew up in a living Hell, and put up with our crap because he loved us, not to expose our shame.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him” (John 3:17, NIV).
Those of us who are found in Jesus don’t need to fear condemnation because of the glorious death that he did for us on the cross, and the condemnation from others has no power over you! So all of the shame that you may be facing as a result of your bad decisions and the judgment that you think will come to you has already been erased to those who have believed in Christ! Allowing pride to manipulate your emotions and cause you fear is simply preposterous! When you come to Christ, you are a new creation, and the old has passed away; fear isn’t in the DNA of born-again believers!
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (1 Timothy 1:7, NIV).
Ultimately, the only true way to defeat pride is to ask for help, the exact opposite of what its very nature demands of you — so the next time someone close to you explains, “I’ve seen you struggling lately, and I wanted to check up on you,” you can tell them all about it. And the next time God comes knocking on your heart, wanting you to return to him, don’t let pride get in the way.
Header image obtained from: http://www.zerochan.net/141516
4 thoughts on “Guest Post: Pride Comes Before the Fall”
First – nice guest post. Second, pridefulness is monstrous and can destroy all of us from time to time. We definitely see it in anime, film, music, etc. But one of the most prevalent examples I can think of from the Bible comes from King Saul. Saul’s pride, his desire to retain his power, his jealousy of David – all this drives him into madness and eventually leads to his death. Saul could have been a good king, but he chose to put himself before the Lord and instead of taking the help offered, listening to good advice, seeking wisdom from Samuel – he focused on what he thought the Lord would want instead.
When we take the mentality of “I got this” and do not seek help which we will invariably need, we often fail. Saul did…
Thank you for your positive feedback! This is actually my first guest post for Beneath The Tangles, and hearing that God succeeded through my words really puts a smile on my face! Saul is one Biblical person that initially never thought of when writing my article, and I’m glad that you brought him up. He really does embody the point that I was trying to get across, and reflects what I used to be. Thinking that I didn’t need God when everything in my life was going perfectly, I decided to ignore his calling, and live how I wanted to. Only through addiction, divorce, and other extremely painful trials have I been humbled before the Lord, and overcome the shame of my bad decisions. I don’t have to fear judgement like Anri, Masomi, and Mikado did, but know that God loves me no matter how much I mess up. Again, thank you for your comment and work on Beneath The Tangles!
Love this post! I guess I never really pinpointed the three’s problem as pride, but I can definitely see it now! Thanks for sharing, and keep up the good work 🙂
I can’t tell you how much your comment meant to me! Knowing that my writing has helped you discover something about the Bible is very encouraging, and tells me that my articles have an impact! I’ve been told by my own family and friends that God cannot use anime for His kingdom, and you are a living example of what the Holy Spirit has been pressing on my heart! Hope to see you more on Beneath The Tangles!