What does the Bible say about pride? Is it OK to be proud of an accomplishment?
There are two different kinds of pride: a self-righteous pride and the pride we feel from a job well done.
Self-righteous Pride = Bad
First, we have self-righteous pride, which is giving yourself credit for what you are and what you have done, completely forgetting that God is the only reason you even exist. Psalm 10:4 says that the proud are so full of themselves that they have forgotten all about God: “In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” God hates this kind of pride (Proverbs 8:13).
This kind of pride definitely has its consequences. Proverbs 16:18-19 says that “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.” This sort of haughty spirit is opposite from the spirit of humility that we are called to practice (Matthew 5:3).
Our greatest enemy, Satan, was thrown out of Heaven because of his pride (Isaiah 14:12-15). His pride was so intense that he thought he could replace God Himself as the rightful king of everything.
To an extent, we sometimes do this too. We think we're good enough to run our lives completely on our own. We make ourselves kings and queens of things, but in reality, we have no power or ability apart from God (John 6:63). For those who rise up against God in their pride, there is nothing but bad news ahead (Isaiah 14:22). For those who think they deserve anything from God, they're just fooling themselves.
Feeling Good about Good Stuff = Good
On the other hand, the kind of pride we feel from a job well done, like doing well on a test or making a cool drawing. It's totally natural to feel good about something good that you have made or done. This kind of pride is perfectly fine as long as you don't forget who allowed it to happen. We are who we are because of God, and we should avoid bragging about our accomplishments (2 Corinthians 10:13).
How do I humbly handle compliments?
If someone compliments you, feel free to say "thank you" and smile. There is no reason to keep fishing and digging for compliments by drawing it out with a conversation that goes something like this:
"Your drawing is amazing!"
"Yeah, thanks, but it was all God."
"Oh, no, you're so good at art."
"It's a gift from God. What can I say?"
"You are sooooo talented!"
That's using God as a way to keep drawing compliments out of people's mouths. ;-) But just saying "thank you" is totally fine, and there is nothing wrong with feeling good about what you created. In your heart, you must remember that God gave you those gifts and talents (1 Corinthians 4:7), but there is also no reason to brag about it out loud. Why? Because then it becomes boasting, "Look at what God gave ME ME ME."
Just the other night, I had some of my young friends over even though I wasn't feeling very well. I fed them and kept their waters full. At the end, one of the girls said, "You really have the gift of hospitality." I just smiled and said, "Thank you," having to stop myself from going on with, "this is just what God has called me to do!" If I had, they would have continued complimenting me, and I know I can get a big head if I let people do that. :-P
So a simple, polite "thank you" works great. No need to go on and on and turn it into boasting.
Self-righteous pride gives the credit to ourselves when the credit should really go to God. That kind of pride takes all the glory away from God and puts it around our own faces. In a way, pride is worshipping ourselves. God is the only one who deserves the credit and the glory for the good things in our lives (1 Corinthians 10:31). But feeling good about something good is nothing to worry about.
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