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 aninnocent, weak high school sophomore, is actually the leader of the popular Dollar’s 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 God does for 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, waiting for you to return to him, don’t let pride get in the way.
*Image is cited from http://www.zerochan.net/141516