Good Pride, Evil Pride

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Paul says in Galatians 6:4, “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each on should carry his own load” (NIV). He uses a word that shocks many believers if used positively. This word is pride. Some believers mistakenly think the scriptures never say anything positive about pride. I have even seen parents who feared taking pride in their children because it is supposedly evil.

Pride is not always wrong. If it were, Paul would not have encouraged it here. The inspiration for pride makes it good or evil. Positive pride grows from assurance and confidence. The confidence is based on past behavior, while the assurance is from knowing who one truly is and what one has accomplished. Paul is able to boast with pride of his accomplishments. He complains about doing this and expresses shock, but not at his pride. He complains about being forced to speak of it to get a church to listen to the one who should always have their ear. Negative pride is juxtaposed to the positive in this passage. We are told we can have pride in ourselves without comparing ourselves to another. Good pride is of assurance, evil pride is of superiority. Evil pride says I am better than you; I am too good for that; I am superior. It is this pride we are to avoid. We can avoid evil pride, while still being proud of our service and accomplishments.

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