Perils of Pride #11: Good Pride?

Galatians 6:3-5

3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else,
5 for each one should carry his own load
. (NIV)

Is there such as thing as good pride? When we consider the verses given above, particularly verse 4, it appears that the Apostle Paul is saying that it is o.k. to have pride in yourself if you have tested your own actions and if you are not comparing yourself or deceiving yourself. Does this stand up to the scrutiny of the rest of scriptures, or is it an apparent contradiction?

Here is another example. It is found in James 1:9-10.

9 The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.
10 But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower
. (NIV)

Should I have pride in the fact that I am humble, or pride in the fact that I will be humbled? As I stated in an earlier post, humility is the only thing that vanishes once it is mentioned.

We see the Apostle Paul mention his own pride in a positive light several times in his epistles. Here is an example from 2 Corinthians 7:4 “I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.” (NIV) Was the Apostle Paul sinning when he took pride in the church at Corinth, or is there some positive aspect of pride that runs counter to our belief that the scripture condemns pride in man?

The quandary regarding so-called “good pride” is really very easy to set straight. It all depends on your definition of the word “pride.” When the words “pride” or “proud” are used in a negative sense in the New Testament, it is usually the Greek word “phusioo”, which means “to be puffed up”. However, when the words “pride” or “proud” are used in a positive sense, it is the Greek word “kauchaomai”, which means “to rejoice.” In all the examples given above of apparently positive instances of pride, the word is always “kauchaomai.” In fact, you can read each of the verses above and substitute in the word “rejoice” for the words “take pride” and you will find that you get a much better sense of what the verse really means. However, in verses where pride is used in a negative sense, you cannot do this. Take for instance the familiar verse from the “Love Chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (NIV) Here the word translated “proud” is the Greek word “phusioo”. You cannot substitute the word “rejoice” into this verse and have it make any sense whatsoever.

So is there a lesson to be learned from our discovery that there really is no such thing as “good pride”? I think there are three lessons we need to learn.

First, we need to learn that it is not enough to just read the scriptures and call it Bible study. We need to learn to dig into the scriptures and pull out the intended meaning of the original authors. We should not trust any translation of the Bible to accurately translate every word in a way that we can readily understand its meaning. Obviously, the word “pride” had a different meaning to the translators of the New International Version than it does to me.

Second, we need to learn that there are no contradictions in the Bible. The matter of “good pride” is just one of the examples of contradiction in the Bible that is easily explainable when we take the time to look at the issue in depth.

Third, there is no lipstick that you can put on the pig of pride to make it look better. The idea of “good pride” runs contrary to the integrated message of the Bible. The Bible condemns pride universally. An attempts to disguise pride by calling it “self-esteem” or “good pride” is nothing more than trying to put lipstick on a pig.

By Berean Husband

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