Pride is something that every human being faces and deals with on a regular basis. It is something that consumes many people, breaks relationships, and leaves a person broken at heart. Pride is all around us and it is emphasized in society as being a quality one must possess. However, God warns against pride. Why? Only Scripture can answer that. So, let’s discuss what the Bible has to say about pride.
Pride can be defined simply as thinking highly of oneself or putting yourself above others. Thinking and believing we are better than another person or that we are more important than another is having pride in ourselves. Let’s be clear on one thing, however. Pride is not the same as confidence. Confidence has to do with one’s attitude towards the self. Pride has to do with one’s attitude towards another person.
The Bible clearly despises and warns against being prideful. Proverbs is full of warnings against being prideful (Proverbs 8:13, 11:2, 16:18, 29:23). Pride goes before destruction, it comes before disgrace, meaning that when we are prideful in ourselves it only leads to our destruction. Why? Because when we are prideful, we put God’s word and law by the wayside and follow our own path, which leads to nowhere but spiritual death.
Jesus taught us about pride many times. One of the best examples is in a parable Jesus tells about two people. Let’s read what the parable was in Luke 18:9-14:
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The Pharisee was full of pride. He was so proud of himself and exalted himself above what society considered “lower status people”. However, at the end of the parable Jesus says that the Pharisee would be humbled in the end. The tax collector was humble and, therefore, he will be exalted by God in the end and the end being eternity. The Pharisee in this parable was so prideful, he had forgotten the fact that he was still sinful. There was sin he had not been forgiven of or had not repented of, and because of his pride, he thought he had no sin. He thought he was so much better, that he was not sinful like other people were. When in reality, he was not justified before God, but the humble tax collector was because of his humbleness. We must always remember our sinful nature and the grace and mercy of God.
We can also see that pride is not from God. John tells us that in 1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” Having pride in things on the earth and of ourselves is not what God wants. Paul tells us in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” We must learn to be humble in all things and put others above ourselves. When we do this it does two things. It makes us more humble and it is easier to love others. When we place ourselves above someone else, loving them is not our first instinct like it wasn’t for the Pharisee in the parable. However, when we put others above ourselves, we learn to love them like Jesus loves us. 1 Corinthians 13:4 tells us that love is not boastful or arrogant. To love someone truly, we must humble ourselves first.
In conclusion, we can see that pride is something we should always be careful about. We should always make sure that we are not being prideful or exalting ourselves above others. Pride leads to sin. Therefore, to avoid it, we must learn to humble ourselves. Then in the end, God will exalt us.