Question:

I have a question about pride. If you are proud of being something of having something, but you don't talk about it or brag about it, is it still bad if you feel like you have something that is better than everyone else?

Answer:

Pride is a dangerous emotion which can easily get out of hand. Like our physical desires and our visual desires, it can become a hook through with Satan can lead us off into sin. "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (I John 2:15-17).

We understand that while lust of the flesh is wrong, it isn't necessarily wrong to be hungry. Lust of the eyes is wrong, but it isn't necessarily wrong to admire a sunset. So too pride of life is wrong, but all pleasure in accomplishments is not necessarily wrong.

What makes pride wrong is that the person no longer has a proper perspective of who they are in relation to other people. "For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3). I dabble in painting, but I have no problems admitting there are many far more accomplished painters than myself. I might be better at painting than a few people who haven't tried or don't have the talent, but I also sure they have abilities in other areas which are greater than my own.

The problem with pride is that a person who is really good in one area begins to think that makes him better than other people. That isn't an accurate judgment. No matter how good you are, there will always be someone who is better or will become better than you. This is particularly important in the realm of righteousness. "Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other" (I Corinthians 4:6).

But all pleasure in accomplishments isn't wrong. Paul was proud of the Corinthians. "I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily" (I Corinthians 15:31). In other words Paul boasted of the effect Christ's word had in their lives through his efforts. The same was true of the Thessalonians. "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy" (I Thessalonians 2:19-20). Yet Paul wasn't unduly proud. He knew that it wouldn't take much to crumble all the work he had done. "But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void" (I Corinthians 9:15).

We are warned not to put our confidence, our boast, in men. "Therefore let no one boast in men" (I Corinthians 3:21). Men are fickle; they change; they disappoint. We can take pleasure in an accomplishment, but we realize that it won't necessarily last. And the person himself is the weakest link. The one person whom we can take true pride in is God because of His eternal nature, "as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the LORD"" (I Corinthians 1:31).

So, instead of looking at something you accomplished and thinking that it is better than anyone else, look at what you did and think that you did a great job. That is, don't compare yourself with others. Then you can also truly enjoy the accomplishments of others as well as your own.