Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Two Types of Pride


Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.  Galatians 6:4

Selfish pride can be defined as "excessive confidence or glorification in one's self, possessions or nation." The concept is found in the Bible, along with pride itself, in words such as arrogance, haughtiness and conceit, among others, all of which are opposite of Godly humility. The wrongness of self-centered pride is essentially twofold. On a spiritual level, it inevitably leads to disregard, disrespect and disobedience to God i.e. self-centered pride is primarily what transformed the once-righteous Lucifer into the wicked Satan after he became too impressed with himself: "I will make myself like the Most High" (Isaiah 14:14). On a worldly level, selfish pride very often results in self-destructive behavior because, while a form of self-delusion, it isn't necessarily as much an overestimation of one's self as it is a dangerous underestimation of others, hence "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18).

The Bible warns us about the dangers of pride, by which it means an arrogant, haughty, self-centered attitude that looks down on others and feels no need of God.  This kind of pride is wrong in God's eyes because it can make someone act as if he/she is the most important person in the world. That cuts us off from others; no one likes someone who's constantly acting as if they're better or more important than anyone else. A prideful attitude also cuts us off from God, because we think we can get along without Him. But the Bible warns, "The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low" (Isaiah 2:11).

The Bible also speaks of a good pride, but it differs greatly from selfish pride, what we might call a healthy understanding of what God has given us, and a humble determination to do our best for His glory. This can be good, giving us the confidence we need to meet challenges and undertake new tasks. The Bible says, "Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else" (Galatians 6:4).

Be on guard against a self-centered pride that ultimately will destroy you. Instead, see yourself the way God sees you, and humbly accept the gifts He has given you. Most of all, humble yourself at the foot of the cross, and commit your life and your future to Jesus  Christ.

As LGBT Christians we should take pride in keeping the faith, even when others tell us we are not wanted.  A friend of mine sent me a quote the other day, that I found very inspirational and I believe it is a perfect example of why we should look at pride in a different way.
Maybe our journey in life isn't so much about becoming anything. Maybe it's about unbecoming everything that isn't really you so you can become who you were meant to be in the first place.
Our experienced help shape us, but they don't define us.  Sometime we have to unlearn things or peel away those things that hold us back.  We are taught by most ministers that pride is evil, but can we not have a humble pride? We should take pride in God and the life he has created in us.  For me this type of pride is about glorifying God.  We are made in the image of God, and we should take pride in that.  We are a witness to God’s radical love, and his love is everlasting and unconditional.  God promises us eternal life, but we must believe and have faith and follow his word (as a member of the churches of Christ, I feel compelled to say "and be baptized" but I know not everyone believes in the necessity of baptism). Our faith is miraculous: as LGBT Christians we are constantly told that we are the living embodiment of sin, but we have kept the faith, because our loving God encourages and guides us to the truth. We are called to transform the world:  it is our duty to show others that God's love is everlasting and unconditional. God journeys with us, and He is with a us at all times, in good or bad.  Our experiences teach us how to love authentically and not to listen to those who are naysayers or preach hate. As LGBT Christians, God has freed us from shame for we have nothing to be shameful of, because we have kept the faith. By embracing ourselves, we bring inner peace because we know who we are and we have "unbecome" what others told us to become because we have followed the path of God's truth.  We are unique creations of God.  Without that uniqueness we'd all be the same, and God made us all diverse and wonderful people who are filled with the capacity to love.

Some gay people find pride to be one time of the year when they do not feel alone, isolated, cut-off, rejected, hated and despised. Pride helps gay people feel they are not a tiny, powerless minority group. Through pride, many gay people find a sense of belonging, a sense of being worthwhile. Society has long taught gay people to hate themselves. By taking pride in who they are in Christ, gay people can start the long process of overcoming self-hate. Standing side-by-side with God, gay Christians are an accepted, loved, connected and powerful majority!

Gay Christians can find meaning in pride. They are start to feel able to freely and openly celebrate who they are in Christ. God wants that! God wants gay people to stop hating and fearing themselves, because those who live secret lives of pain are not able to fully celebrate their identity in Christ. Through gay pride, God calls gay Christians to live as though the world waits for them, waits for them to passionately praise God, to love as faithfully as God loves and to celebrate life, as they walk hand-in-hand with Christ into eternity.

So take pride in our struggles.  We need that good, unselfish pride to show others the true light of God.  So as we celebrate the forty-fifth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, with Gay Pride Month coming to an end, and next Friday, we celebrate the pride we feel in the independence of the American spirit, we should rejoice with others that God allows us that feeling of warmth in our hearts that is our unselfish pride. 

The picture at the top of this post is the reaction to this group of Chicago Christians who showed up at a gay pride parade to apologize for homophobia in the Church.





4 comments:

Travis Crockett said...

Great photos!
My mother once asked how I could be proud to be gay. I told her I am proud to be me, and that gay is part of who I am. It made a little sense to her.

silvereagle said...

As usual, your Sunday postings are 'right on'. Great timely topic with a new viewpoint. Thanks for your insight! No writers block today for sure...glad you are over that malady!!!

Amanda said...

I really enjoyed this post. And I think those pictures help to show how people's attitudes can change when they see how hurtful their own selfish pride can be. :)

Mr said...

Great response!