“We tell our kids we’re proud of them
yet teach them that pride is wrong,”
asks a puzzled parent.
“Is there a good pride?”
A statement in James 4:6 answers most questions of pride: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
From cover to cover the Bible makes it plain that pride is wrong when the meaning is haughty, arrogant, conceited, vain, puffed up, boasting, quarreling, braggart, patting self on back, lofty, high-minded or putting oneself above others.
All of those bad attitudes can be summed up as self-exaltation, and Prov. 10:32 states that exalting self is foolish. What could be more foolish than doing something that makes God oppose you!
Other Proverbs decry that pride brings shame, breeds quarrels and goes before destruction.
Vines’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words says “The majority of the uses of gaon are negative in that they connote human ‘pride’ as an antonym for humility.”
So is there
A good pride?
Is there a pride you can have & still be humble? Let’s look at principles from the Bible & then we’ll have to apply them to specific situations.
Pride = satisfaction for doing your best
Vines also says: “In a positive sense gaon … signifies ‘excellence’ or ‘majesty.’” God’s majesty.
Paul said, “Let everyone be sure that he is doing his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work well done” (Gal. 6:4 Living Bible).
Right about now do you find yourself singing lyrics by Montgomery Gentry: “And if all you ever really do is the best you can, well, you did it man! That’s something to be proud of.”
Or lyrics from the recent hit single by Tim McGraw: “When the dreams you’re dreaming come to you, when the work you put in is realized, let yourself feel the pride, but always stay humble and kind.
Ecc. 3:22 chimes in: “So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works.” Satisfaction over what accomplished!
Let another praise you and not yourself (Prov. 27:2)
Paul supported this principle in 2 Cor. 1:14: “we are your boast as you also are ours.” Paul boasted about his children in the Lord & rejoiced that they returned the esteem.
“Do not lift your horn up on high,” agrees Psa. 75:5. Well, businesses would argue that it pays to toot, at least in a tasteful way. Because a small restaurant in Waterton National Park claimed to have “world-famous fried chicken,” I ordered it instead of my usual proclivity for beef. OK, wasn’t bad, but the Colonel still has the only world-famous one!
Then there’s resumes where you’ve got to say why you’re the one they should hire. How to do that without “praising yourself”? Resumes avoid personal pronouns like “I” and “me.” Specific accomplishments & awards should be presented instead of “I’m wonderful” statements. And references are critical.
A psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, wrote that of seven types of bragging, six are unacceptable & one is risky, maybe working only under certain conditions. She says you’ll never be faulted for just being happy for accomplishment. McGraw nailed it with “let yourself feel the pride.”
This would keep you from “OK, I don’t mean to brag but I just finished a puzzle in one hour that said 2-4.”
“A proud man is always looking down on things and people,” observed C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity); “and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
Give God the credit!
This is one way we should be high-minded!
A proud son lauded his late Dad: “He only boasted about God.”
Paul said in Rom. 15:17 (Living Bible): “So it is right for me to be a little proud of all Christ Jesus has done through me … He has used me to win the Gentiles. Acts 15:12 has similar: “Barnabus and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles.”
Remember the classic story about how the great Scottish runner Eric Liddell said “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
Surely the most heroic story of all time is David vs. Goliath. David’s oldest brother Eliab foolishly judged him: “I know your pride” (1 Sam. 17:28). Yet David called himself “your servant” when talking to King Saul, & he had to talk confident in order for the king to consent to him being Israel’s representative in the do-or-die situation for the whole army.
The Bible notes David at first stating that he killed a lion & a bear. But later he plainly says “the Lord who delivered me” from both beasts.
David didn’t exalt himself; he warned Goliath about his foolishness in defying the armies of God!
From the example of David’s brother Eliab, we see that we shouldn’t judge others. We might find it puzzling enough to judge ourselves!
♥ Pride in your work? Are you talking about satisfaction for doing your best, for striving for excellence?
♥ Letting another praise you, not your own mouth? Not trying to exalt self?
♥ Pride in your family? What they are & do pleases you? May God say of you “This is my beloved son [daughter] in whom I am well pleased.”
If you follow these Bible principles & always give God the glory and credit in your life & stay humble & kind, you’ll have something to be proud of.