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SIMON - Is there good and bad pride?
JOEL - It mostly depends on how you are using the words proud or pride. There is nothing wrong with having a healthy sense of self-respect or self-worth, but in the true scriptural deffinition of the word, there is no such thing as righteous pride, it is usually associated with sin (Prov. 21: 4 , Mosiah 29: 9 , D&C 98: 20). Pride places enmity between us and other people or between us and God.
C. S. Lewis said,
"Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone." (Mere Christianity, New York: Macmillan, 1952, pp. 109-10)
As the people in the Book of Mormon discovered, pride is the power by which satan gets control over us (3 Ne. 6: 15) . Pride is the antonym of humility. Both cannot exist in the same place at the same time.
One might ask, "Is it wrong to tell my child how proud I am for what he has done?" Something like this, said in private, might indeed instill a feeling of love and approval in a child from his parent, and probably isn't all that harmful, unless of course the parent is having feelings of superiority over other parents, who's children are not so talented.
It is difficult to refrain from using the word "pride" because we have been conditioned in this world to regard it as a good thing. We are proud of our team; we are proud to be an American; The Few, The Proud, The Marines! etc.
But what can start out as a seemingly harmless expression of love and approval can, if we are not careful, lead to feelings of superiority and arrogance over others.
President Benson spoke much about this subject and how serious of a sin it can be. He said "pride is sinful because it breeds hatred or hostility and places us in opposition to God and our fellowmen. At its core, pride is a sin of comparison, for though it usually begins with "Look how wonderful I am and what great things I have done," it always seems to end with "Therefore, I am better than you."
When our hearts are filled with pride, we commit a grave sin, for we violate the two great commandments. Instead of worshipping God and loving our neighbor, we reveal the real object of our worship and love, the image we see in the mirror." (President Ezra Taft Benson, "Beware of Pride", 1989)
On the other hand, while President Dieter Uchtdorf agrees with all that president Benson said, he "remembered one interesting side effect of his talk. For a while it almost became taboo among Church members to say that they were "proud" of their children or their country or that they took "pride" in their work. The very word pride seemed to become an outcast in our vocabulary.
In the scriptures we find plenty of examples of good and righteous people who rejoice in righteousness and at the same time glory in the goodness of God. Our Heavenly Father Himself introduced His Beloved Son with the words "in whom I am well pleased."I believe there is a difference between being proud of certain things and being prideful. I am proud of many things. I am proud of my wife. I am proud of our children and grandchildren.
I am proud of the youth of the Church, and I rejoice in their goodness. I am proud of you, my dear and faithful brethren. I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as a bearer of the holy priesthood of God." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf Pride and the Priesthood, 2010)
So feelings of pride can be good if it is directed towards others with the intent of rejoicing with them in their goodness and success, the same way God the Father was pleased with His Son. It is sinful if it is directed towards oneself in an attempt to make us feel superior over others.
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