Too Proud or Not Proud Enough?

“My Precious”

Years ago I heard a Hip-Hop (Rap) artist being interviewed about what some call “The Seven Deadly Sins.”  When the discussion came to pride, his reply was “Pride?  I don’t think that is really a sin.  We have to have pride.”

Elizabeth Bennett replies to Miss Charlotte Lucas about Mr. Darcy, ” . . . and I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” (italics sic.)

I once had an elderly gentleman tell me that it was a sin to be proud of your children.

Pride.  Is pride a sin?  Or as some might suggest, is a lack of pride a sin?

Maybe this discussion all boils down to our working definition of pride.  If by pride we are talking about self-worth (healthy self-esteem) then maybe pride is not completely bad.  However if we are using pride as a synonym for conceit and elevated self-importance then maybe pride is out of order.

When God’s word calls pride sinful God is using pride in the sense of looking down on others, refusing to see your own shortcomings, and ultimately elevating self to the level of (if not above) God himself.

  • Psa 10:8, ” In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
  • Pro 29:23, “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”
  • 1Jn 2:16, “For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world. “

Yet not every mention of pride in God’s word condemns pride.  There seems to be a “healthy pride.”

  • Isa 4:2, “In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel.”
  • 2Co 7:4 “I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.”

Maybe Elizabeth’s sister Mary was approaching the right idea when she joins the conversation, “Pride . . . is a very common failing, I believe . . . . that human nature is particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the score of some quality or other . . . . Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously.  A person my be proud with being vain.”

What do I gain from this?

  1. When my self attitude (pride) causes me to look down on others that pride is sinful.
  2. When my self attitude (pride) refuses to allow me to see my own sin (much less confess it) then that pride is sinful.
  3. When my self-attitude (pride) looks at my accomplishments as my own then that pride is sinful.
  4. When my self-attitude (pride) see my sin and wants to better myself in Christ through Christ, then that pride leads me to improvement.
  5. When my self-attitude (pride) leads me to see my accomplishments through Christ (Paul’s view of the Christians in Corinth) then that pride leads me to praise.

What are your thoughts on pride?

note: quotes from Elizabeth and Mary Bennett are from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

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