1 Timothy 3:6
AMP - 6 He must not be a new convert, or he may [develop a beclouded and stupid state of mind] as the result of pride [be blinded by conceit, and] fall into the condemnation that the devil [once] did.
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I have always found the thoughts of the English author (writer of The Chronicles of Narnia series) and Christian commentator C.S.Lewis (1898-1963) very helpful with regard to this question. Lewis touched on the subject of the question when discussing the sin of pride (which Lewis called "The Great Sin") in Chapter 8 of Book III (dealing with Christian behavior) in his larger work, Mere Christianity. In that chapter, Lewis wrote, "We say in English that a man is 'proud' of his son, or his father, or his school, or regiment, and it may be asked whether 'pride' in this sense is a sin. I think it depends on what, exactly, we mean by 'proud of'. Very often, in such sentences, the phrase 'is proud of' means 'has a warm-hearted admiration for'. Such an admiration is, of course, very far from being a sin. But it might, perhaps, mean that the person is question gives himself airs on the ground of his distinguished father, or because he belongs to a famous regiment. This would, clearly, be a fault; but even then, it would be better than being proud simply of himself. To love and admire anything outside yourself is to take one step away from utter spiritual ruin; though we shall not be well so long as we love and admire anything more than we love and admire God." The entire text of Mere Christianity is available without cost online at the following link: http://christiangrads.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Mere-Christianity-The-Book.pdf
Is it a sin to say we are proud of…? Not necessarily. The word proud, like many others, can be used equivocally or analogically to have different meanings depending on the context and the intent of the one speaking or writing. We commonly use the notion of pride as a veiled substitute for virtuous concepts such as gratitude, gladness, dignity, satisfaction, optimism, and even love and affection. For me to say that I am proud of my grandchildren is not sinful. It is a normal and understandable way to communicate my gratitude and gladness for their (developing) strong character and good behavior that conveys dignity and respect upon them and their family. I am wonderfully satisfied with who they are becoming and optimistically hopeful for their future. I love them intensely and my affection for them is increased by their being so loveable. They are truly blessings from God, and it would truly be a sin if I were not proud of them. Does my pride for my grandchildren make me haughty and arrogant? Just the opposite. It humbles me to know that God has blessed me with these invaluable gifts despite my personal sin and sinfulness. In my heart, I know I don’t deserve them. They are beautiful examples of God’s wonderful grace. It makes me love and appreciate my Lord even more knowing that all good gifts come down from Him, the Father of Lights (James 1:17). Does it make me think I am better than those who are not blessed in this way? Not at all, for I am well aware that “there, but for the grace of God, go I.” I have absolutely nothing that has not been given to me by God (John 3:27). So, I have no basis for sinful pride. “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God” (WSC 14). The scriptural texts that mention pride and set the boundaries for our attitude and behavior are too numerous to list here. In brief, God makes it clear that we should acknowledge Him in all things (don’t take credit for what He has done in our lives); that we are not to think of ourselves more highly than we should (believing that we have inherent power to be and do whatever we want outside of Him); that we should treat others as if they are better than us (even if we don’t believe they are); and that we should avoid not just the attitude, but even the appearance of arrogance and haughtiness toward God and toward other people. All God’s commands set boundaries for our lives that protect and benefit us. The types and occasions of pride which cross those boundaries are harmful to ourselves and others and insulting to Almighty God as spoken of frequently in His word. Rather than focusing too strongly on the word “pride” (which may have different meanings to different people and in different contexts) we should strive to eliminate, with God’s enabling, the attitudes and thought patterns which manifest themselves as sinful pride. And, we should work hard to promote the attribute of true humility within ourselves. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
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