Is It Wrong to Be Proud?


Spring brings flowers and showers and many rites of passage! In recent weeks, Facebook seems full of photos of school dances, graduations, and end-of-the-school year events. This is a very busy time of year. For those of us with school-aged children, we are wrapping up another school year, and that always involves reaching – and sharing – milestones and achievements.

Lately, as I have scrolled through Facebook, I latched onto something I have not noticed before: how often we (universally) say we are proud of someone or something. We are proud of our sons and daughters for _________________ (fill in the blank). This has led me to think a good deal about pride and the expression of it. Is it wrong to feel proud of our children when they work hard and do well? Is it sinful to feel pride at accomplishing a goal we have set for ourselves?

No. I do not think it is wrong to delight in our children when they graduate, win an award, or get a passing grade for which they worked very hard. Nor do I think it is wrong for us to post pictures of our children and say we are proud of their accomplishments.

However, I think there are inherent dangers with feeling and expressing pride – over anything. For example, if I say I am proud of my son for making the Honor Role, with no acknowledgement in my heart of God, am I not denying the role that God had in my son’s accomplishment? After all, God is the giver of all good things (James 1:17).

Pride can very quickly go from justifiable satisfaction to arrogance. It can blind us completely. Our pride can rule our decisions and ruin our relationships. Worst of all, it causes us to forget the Lord (Deut 8:14). I have been considering the following verses from Proverbs:

  • Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov. 16:18)
  • One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor. (Prov. 29:23)
  • Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. (Prov. 16:5)
  • Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. (Prov. 18:12)

I think the line between feeling pleasure over one’s achievements and haughtiness is slim. Perhaps it would be better to ascribe glory to the Lord for His faithfulness in helping us complete a job or attain a goal rather than describe our feeling as “pride.” This also goes for how we feel about our children. I want my children to know I delight in their achievements! But instead of saying, “I’m so proud of you,” I will now strive to say, “I PRAISE God for your work ethic! I am so grateful for how He has blessed you!” Because that is what any and all accomplishments are really all about: GOD, and how He has blessed us.

The more we give glory to God for the things we do well, the more we guard our hearts against pride, the more we see Him as the source of our gifting, and the more gratitude we cultivate in our hearts and lives.

So, being proud of a job well done is not necessarily wrong. But being grateful to God is better.

Growing in Grace

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