Wednesday, Dec. 2
There’s a difference between pride and conceit. According to the Webster Dictionary, pride is “a reasonable or justifiable self respect.” Conceit is “excessive appreciation of one’s own worth.” Paul clearly defines deceit in Rom. 12:3: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” The difference between pride and conceit is that pride is an accurate appraisal of one’s worth and conceit is an inflated or skewed appraisal of one’s worth. That would seem to put pride in a positive light and conceit in a negative light. However, Webster muddies the water a bit by acknowledging that pride is also used as a synonym for conceit. It is “an inordinate delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship.” I guess that would include paternal pride. The key word here is “inordinate.” That is, pride can be negative as well as positive. So pride in my son’s achievements are OK if it’s based on an accurate appraisal. Before we make too much of Webster’s definitions, let us realize that it’s not inspired Scripture. I did a little research on this. Strong’s Concordance lists over a hundred references to pride (including proud and proudly). Without exception, all references are on the negative side. Synonyms are haughty, arrogant, and boastful. Pride is always denounced as evil. This would seem to undermine Webster’s definition of “reasonable or justifiable self respect.” The result of all this is that I believe Scripture supports the view I expressed in my previous blog. Pride always leads to bad things. As Proverbs 16:18 says “Pride goes before destruction.” There are other words, however, that could be used for patriotic pride, paternal pride, and the like. Words such as approval, satisfaction, pleased, recognition, success, or positive. There is definitely a place for positive reinforcement and for expressing approval and love. I hope I have not muddied the water.