Is there "good" pride?
The sin of pride has been our main subject for the last two weeks as we’ve dived into Obadiah. One question that several people have raised with me is, “Is all pride bad? Can I not be proud of my child’s accomplishments?” The answer to this question provides a further nuance to our understanding of pride in the Bible.
Every time the Bible talks about pride, it is always in a bad light. Every single time. Proverbs 16:5 says, “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” The reason pride is sin is because it loves self—it is self-reliant. Pride leads to opposing God.
However, there is an important distinction between sinful pride and the pride of a parent for a child. When we say, “I’m proud of my son/daughter,” we are expressing a sense of joy and satisfaction in what our child can accomplish. Essentially, we are saying, “I love my child.” Instead of loving self, it is showing love for someone else. While we use the word “pride” in this way, our hearts are not prideful but delight in our child’s abilities.
God the Father demonstrates this Himself at Jesus’ baptism. In Matthew 3, when Jesus came out of the water, we read, “and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’” God, too, delights in His Son. Taking joy and delight in our children’s accomplishments is not sinful. This is good to do.
Humility is love of God and others more than self. By delighting in our children, we are not focused on self but on others. Watching them as they grow in accomplishments is ultimately humbling. It is humbling that God would work in their lives and guide them in His will DESPITE the times we, as parents, have stumbled in raising them. Being proud for our children is saying, “we are humbled” before God.
So, next time you are ready to say, “I’m proud of you,” feel free. But don’t stop there. Encourage each other with, “You make me happy,” “I’m thankful for you,” and even “I’m humbled by what you can do.” Express your delight in different ways and often. Your child needs it.