The words pride and proud can be problematic, in that the Bible says those states of being can be sinful. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a sin to feel good about yourself. Here’s an understanding of when pride crosses the line.
“Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.”
– Proverbs 21:4
During Pride Month, we hear the word everywhere. Anyone who reads the Bible knows that the word pride is associated with sin in verse after verse. Pride and proud, then become confusing and problematic words. We don’t necessarily use the word in the context that it is viewed in the Bible. It is important that we understand what that context is.
Jesus put pride among the worst of sins.
“And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
– Mark 7:20-23
Then you have the Seven Deadly Sins, which don’t come from the Bible, but are inspired by Christian teachings.
The first six are: Lust, envy, anger, greed, gluttony, and sloth. However, most sages agree that pride is the original, worst, most-destructive and the source of the other capital sins, even demonic.
We’re proud of our children, our loved ones and others. Having those feelings in an appreciative manner aren’t a sin. It’s okay to feel good about yourself and others, as long as you acknowledge God’s role in yours and everyone’s blessings. Don’t cut God out of the equation.
Perhaps we should think of some new synonyms for pride and proud, words that come closer to self-respect or appreciation. Other synonyms are: glad, honored, gratified or pleased. You can find other similar words.
God calls on us to be humble, meek, modest, and lowly.
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
– Matthew 5:5
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
– Proverbs 16:18
One way to think of sinful pride is to substitute the word conceit. There are a number other words that describe excessive pride: haughty, conceited, boastful, braggart, arrogant or self-important.
Pride becomes a problem when one becomes so self-important that they lose sight of God or have no need for God. They sin by breaking the First Commandment by putting other things before God. Their pride can become self-love to the point of idolatry as a kind of self worship. All credit for everything that happens is theirs alone with no credit to God.
Pride can make one so self-focused that they lose sight of others. They forget Jesus’ commandment to put others before themselves and to love their neighbor as themselves.
The remedy is to always put God first. Focus foremost on pleasing Him in all you do. Humble yourself before God and show gratitude.
When you humble yourself, the sin of pride, and therefore the devil, has no opportunity.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
– James 4:7