Natalie raced toward the other team's goal, drew back her foot, and kicked the ball as hard as she could. She watched in amazement as the soccer ball sailed through the air-and past the outstretched form of the goalie! She had scored the winning goal! She started jumping up and down in the air, screaming and laughing. Her teammates soon swarmed around her, and Natalie stood among them, happy and proud.
Lon walked across the stage that had been erected in the middle of the school gym and accepted the Honor Roll award his principal handed to him. He turned his head and looked for his parents in the bleachers. They were clapping for him, and his mom was crying. Lon beamed with pride.
Little Josh dashed from his playroom into the room where his mom sat and showed her the picture he had drawn. She took the page from his tiny hands and praised his work. Josh trotted back to his playroom, smiling proudly.
Do you think Natalie, Lon, and Josh were wrong for feeling proud? Were their reactions wrong?
No. What they felt was not only natural, it was good. Natalie was pleased that her effort had made her teammates happy. Lon felt honored to receive the Honor Roll award and was thrilled that he had pleased his parents. Little Josh was pleased with the results of his drawing "work" and basked in the glow of his mother's praise. They were right to feel proud of what they had done.
There's a difference, you see, between sinful pride and a healthy, godly attitude toward your achievements. To celebrate a winning goal is not sinful pride, but if Natalie had claimed to be "the best player" on her team and made the other players feel bad, that would have been prideful behavior. To feel honor at receiving an award isn't sinful pride, but if Lon had strutted across the stage as if he were the smartest kid ever to attend his school, that would have been arrogant. To bask in your parents' approval isn't sinful pride, but if Josh started to talk and talk about how well he could draw, that would have been boastful.
You see the difference? You can take pleasure in your good qualities or achievements and still be humble. But when you act in a prideful, boastful, or arrogant way, you're not being humble. So enjoy what you like about yourself and what you do well, but make sure you do it with gratitude and humility, and not with pride.
REFLECT: Do you think a person can be prideful and grateful at the same time? Why or why not? Do you think a person can be humble and grateful at the same time? Why or why not? what's the difference between taking pleasure in your good qualities or achievements and acting in a prideful, boastful, or arrogant way?
PRAY: "Heavenly Father, help me to have healthy, godly attitudes about what I like about myself and what I do well. Please protect me from sinful pride."