What in the world are “haughty eyes?!”
We may be familiar with other descriptions for eyes. For example, eyes can be bright, blue, brown, beady, blinking, brooding, or bloodshot.
There are also Biblical references, including “an evil eye” (Matt. 20:15), “wanton eyes” (Isa. 3:16), and “the lust of the eyes” (1 John 2:16).
But “haughty eyes?” I doubt you have ever used this term in casual conversation.
Having “Haughty Eyes” = Living With Sinful Pride
The word “haughtiness” is unfamiliar to most of us. Haughty eyes (Ps. 101:5; Isa. 5:15), in Hebrew, means “lifting up of eyes,” or “high eyes.”
It is a figure of speech for pride, arrogance, or conceit (Prov. 6:17).
When the Bible says someone has haughty eyes, it means that they consider themselves above others and ultimately above God (Rom. 1:30).
God Hates Haughty Eyes
So, what is the point of all this? In brief, God hates haughty eyes (Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5).
Haughty eyes (pride) lead to many sinful behaviors. For example, prideful people are:
- Arrogant, vain, and boastful
- Overly confident in their skills, accomplishments, possessions, or position
- High-minded, presumptuous, and insensitive towards others
- “Puffed up” with an attitude of self-importance (2 Tim. 3:2)
I am sure you have met people with an “it’s all about me” mindset” (Prov. 21:24). Quite honestly, I’m sure you have been that person too. We all have.
What is the Fundamental Problem with Haughty Eyes?
Sure, prideful people can be annoying. But does God really hate haughty eyes? If so, why?
Well, at the most basic level, pride and arrogance are acts of rebellion against God. Prideful people often scoff and mock God (Ps. 119:21; Prov. 3:34).
When we are prideful, we place ultimate confidence in ourselves and not in God. Prideful people seek to grasp the honor and glory that should only belong to God.
In essence, they become their own “god.”
Haughty-eyed people also look down on others. They consider other people to be of low value or ability. And therefore, they treat them with disdain, contempt, and even cruelty.
Are you starting to see the problem?
What Does the Bible Say about Being Haughty, Proud, or Arrogant?
See, if haughty eyes weren’t a big issue to God, the Bible would likely mention pride a few times and leave it at that. But the words arrogant, proud, and haughty are mentioned over 200 times in the NIV Bible.
In other words, our heart—and the object of our worship—matters to God.
Additionally, in Proverbs 6:16–19, the writer lists “six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him.” The very first one listed is haughty eyes (i.e., pride).
Scripture outlines many harmful effects of pride. For instance, pride:
- Goes before destruction (Prov. 16:18; 18:2)
- Does not seek God (Ps. 10:4)
- Brings disgrace (Prov. 11:2)
- Breeds quarrels (Prov. 13:10)
- Deceives (Jer. 49:16; Obad. 3)
- Brings a person low (Prov. 29:23; Isa. 2:11)
- Gives way to humbling because God will not share his glory with anyone or anything else (Isa. 2:17; 42:8; Dan. 4:37)
Even more frightening, God promises that:
- He “opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Jas. 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5; cf. Prov. 3:34)
- The arrogant will be punished (Prov. 16:5; Isa. 13:11)
The Solution for Haughty Eyes: Humility
Pride and arrogance will ultimately give rise to shame (Prov. 11:2). And none of us is immune to pride.
Jesus, Paul, James, and Peter command believers to be godly, humble, and loving (Mark 10:45; Rom. 12:3; 1 Cor.13:4; Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:6; 2 Pet. 1:5–7).
But let’s face it. It is hard to remain humble in our culture of “look at me.”
So how can we stay in God’s will by remaining humble?
One of the most important ways is regularly reminding ourselves of who God is and his love for us. We should also seek an intimate relationship with him.
The best way to do these things is through the spiritual disciplines.
And part of spiritual disciplines is embedding God’s truths into our minds.
We transform our minds through memorizing and meditating on passages. Then when the when we become arrogant or prideful, the Holy Spirit can bring these passages to mind.
Helpful Scripture to Attack Haughty Eyes:
If you agree that this seems reasonable, here is a sampling of verses on humility:
- “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.” (Ps. 25:9)
- “For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.” (Ps. 149:4)
- “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.” (Prov. 22:4)
- “The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Prov. 15:33)
- “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” (Prov. 29:23)
- “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:4)
- “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12)
- “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Phil. 2:3)
- “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” (Jas. 4:6)
- “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (Jas. 4:10)
- “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Pet. 5:6)
What’s Your Next Step?
Why not pick three of these verses and memorize them this week?
Humility is the biblical answer to overcoming pride (Psa. 18:27). And with humility comes wisdom.
And as we earnestly seek humility, let’s consider the example of Jesus. His selfless love and humility led him to the cross (Mark 10:43–45; John 13:14).
Consider what Jesus’s death on the cross cost him. Christ, both God and Savior of the world, willingly humbled himself to make salvation available to every person. And that included the people who beat and crucified him as well as you and me.
Ultimately his sacrifice allows us eternal life. But only if we choose to repent of our sins and accept him as our Lord and Savior.
As I have learned, only by accepting the love and lordship of Christ can we escape the lure of haughty eyes. And when we do, we can offer hope to a world of haughty eyes and harried hearts.
- Bratcher, R. G., and W. D. Reyburn. A translator’s handbook of Psalms. United Bible Societies, 1991, p. 176.
- Carpenter, E. E., and P. W. Comfort. Holman treasury of key Bible words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew words defined and explained. Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000, p. 140
- Cowen, G. “Pride.” Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, edited by Brand, C. et al., Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003, p. 1327
- Dunnett, W. M. “Pride.” Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology. Baker Book House, 1996, pp. 630–631