A few months ago, I listened to a Revive Our Hearts program about brokenness. Nancy Leigh DeMoss asked "Are you a proud person or a broken person?" She then listed the characteristics of a proud person and the characteristics of a broken (humble) person. I can't think of a person alive who couldn't benefit from reviewing this list (present company most definitely included), so I transcribed it for you and listed it here in this blog post. May God use it greatly in your life, as He is doing in mine.
Proud people focus on the failures of others but broken people are overwhelmed with the sense of their own spiritual need.
Proud people are self-righteous. They have a critical, fault-finding spirit. But broken people are compassionate. They can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven. They think the best of others, and they esteem all others as better than themselves.
Proud people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit, but broken people have a dependent spirit and recognize their need for others.
Proud people have to prove they are right, but broken people are willing to yield the right to be right.
Proud people claim rights and have a demanding spirit, but broken people yield their rights and have a meek spirit.
Proud people are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation, but broken people are self-denying.
Proud people desire to be served, but broken people are motivated to serve others.
Proud people desire to be a success, but broken people are motivated to be faithful and to make others a success.
Proud people desire for self advancement, but broken people desire to promote others.
Proud people have a drive to be recognized, to be appreciated. They are wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked. But broken people have a sense of their own unworthiness. They are thrilled that God would use them at all in any ministry. They are eager for others to get the credit, and they rejoice when others are lifted up.
Proud people have a subconscious feeling, "This ministry is privileged to have me and my gifts. They think of what they can do for God. But broken people have the heart attitude that says "I don't deserve to have any part in this ministry, and they know that they have nothing to offer God except the life of Jesus flowing through their broken lives.
Proud people feel confident in how much they know, but broken people are humbled by how very much they have to learn.
Proud people are self-conscious, but broken people are not concerned with self at all.
Proud people keep others are arm's length, but broken people are willing to risk getting close to others and to take the risk of loving intimately.
Proud people are quick to blame others, but broken people accept personal responsibility and can see where they are wrong in the situation.
Proud people are unapproachable, but broken people are easy to be entreated.
Proud people are defensive when criticized, but broken people receive criticism with a humble, open spirit.
Proud people are concerned with being respectable. They are concerned with what others think, and they are working to protect their own image and reputation. But broken people are concerned with being real. What they care about and what matters to them is not what others think but what God knows, and they are willing to die to their own reputation.
Proud people find it difficult to share their spiritual needs with others. Broken people are willing to be open and transparent with others as God directs.
Proud people, when they have sinned, want to make sure that no one finds out. Their instinct is to cover up. But broken people, once they have been broken, they don't care who knows, who finds out. They are willing to be exposed because they have nothing to lose.
Proud people have a hard time saying, "I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?" But broken people are quick to admit their failure and to seek forgiveness when necessary.
When confessing their sin, proud people tend to deal in generalities, but broken people are able to deal under the conviction of God's Spirit to acknowledge specifics.
Proud people are concerned about the consequences of their sin, but broken people are grieved over the cause, the root of their sin.
Proud people are remorseful over their sin, sorry that they got found out or caught. But broken people are truly, genuinely repentant over their sin, which is acknowledged in the fact that they forsake that sin.
When there is a conflict or misunderstanding in a relationship, proud people wait for the other to come and ask for forgiveness. But broken people take the initiative to be reconciled. They race to the cross. They see if they can get there first, no matter how wrong the other may have been.
Proud people compare themselves with others. They feel worthy of honor. Broken people compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel a desperate need for his mercy.
Proud people are blind to their real heart condition. Broken people walk in the light.
Proud people don't think they have anything to repent of, but broken people realize that they have need of a continual heart attitude of repentance.
Proud, unbroken people don't think they need revival, but they are sure that everyone else does. Whereas, humble, broken people continually sense their need for a fresh encounter with God.