Pride: good or bad thing?

Pride is a funny thing isn’t it? Life teaches us that we should be proud of our achievements, but for so many Christians the word ‘pride’ has a sense of doing things in our own strength, not recognising where God is at work and taking the glory ourselves.

So is Pride always bad? For example I might say to my children, ‘I am so proud of you’ when they do something particularly well or act in a loving way, or one might say ‘take pride in what you do’, meaning, I think, to give things one’s all, and to do ones best, so that we can feel we have done a good job (or something to be proud of…) But… at what point does pride in something one has achieved become ‘prideful’ or too proud?

As a Christian I look for God in all that I do, and I recognise the talents that he has given me, so if I do something well it is something to be proud of, but also something to give God glory for… I don’t mean in a false way, (I wrote about the difficulty of accepting compliments a while back) but in my heart I know where my talents have come from and so I feel joy that I have achieved something using those talents I have been given. does that make sense?

My experience is that the more evangelical view is of Pride as being something we should avoid, but I think I would challenge that, so long as we recognise where our pride should be directed. Love to know others thoughts on this…

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    May 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    That's an interesting question. I don't think pride is always bad – there are some scriptures where pride is good, like Isaiah 4:2 where it predicts the fruit of the land being the pride of Israel, and 2 Cor 7:4 where Paul says he has great pride in them.

    But I think the overwhelming amount of scriptures point towards pride being bad, and I think the main difference is that the sinful pride is boasting in yourself, self-righteousness, a lack of giving God the glory, whereas the good references are of pride in others who have done well, and pride in things given by God.

    So I guess it is not a line that is easy to draw, but I think that if we are looking for God in all we do as you said, and giving Him the glory when we are praised, then hopefully we should be on the right lines!

    I would say that a lot of people don't do this though, so I think warnings against pride are very needful, as otherwise we can become like the self-righteous Pharisees. I also think we can fall into it without realising – like when we think we are right and won't admit to maybe being wrong!

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