June used to be known as the “wedding” month when a man and woman came together in holy matrimony, usually in a church, to demonstrate the God-given origin and covenant of marriage.
Our wedding, though not in June, took place on October 10, 1976, before 300 people at Harper Church. The wedding announcement stated: “We believe that the wonderful God of the universe has called us to serve him together in the beauty of holiness.”
Today the month of June has become “Pride Month” with numerous parades and celebrations around the nation. Some members of the current administration want it to become “Pride Summer.”
Pride is usually a sin.
Pride is Usually a Sin
I consider myself somewhat of an expert on pride. It’s the “easily besetting sin” of my heritage as seen in the attitudes and actions of numerous family members. We call it “The Boehme Pride.”
My German heritage seems to be specially susceptible to it.
Some of the greatest mistakes of my life were made because of pride. I thought I was better or smarter than others or expressed my opinions in a way that came across as “superior.”
I’ve done much repenting of this sin over the decades and learned much about its opposite– humility.
But pride isn’t always a bad thing.
Michael A. Milton explains:
There is a pride that goes before a fall. However, the Bible teaches that there is another kind of pride — good pride, if you will. There is pride in the quality of honest work: “Nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works” (Ecclesiastes 3:22, NKJV). A child takes pride in her father (Proverbs 17:6). One has pride in the glory of God (2 Chronicles 17:6, cf. Romans 3:27, 2 Corinthians 7:4, 1 Thessalonians 2:19).
We enjoy telling our children that we are “proud” of them i.e. happy about their character choices and accomplishments. I share the same encouragement with my students on a regular basis.
But we need to be careful about the overall attitude of pride because it easily turns into arrogance, superiority, looking down on others, and other evils.
There is that other pride. The Hebrew word that is translated as “pride” is gaon, which comes from the word for “height.” The New Testament word is hyperephania, meaning “arrogant,” “haughty” or “elevated.” I think of an expression from our rural American South: “Don’t get above your raisin’!”
If you prefer a more theological definition, pride refers to “an unhealthy elevated view of one’s self, abilities, or possessions” (Lexham Theological Dictionary).
Pride is a “gateway sin.” C.S. Lewis captured that insight in “Mere Christianity:” “Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind. … It is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began.”
Pride is usually negative, going back to the very fall of Satan himself. Dennis Prager makes this point in his excellent column This Pride Stuff Isn’t Healthy.
Noah Webster in 1828 defined pride as “An unreasonable conceit of one’s own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, rank, or elevation in office which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often contempt of others.”
Because of God’s dealings, I wrote a detailed message on it years ago, delivered with tears. I listed ten different manifestations of pride which include an unwilling to serve others, unteachableness, arrogant facial features, boastful self-centered speech, vanity, anger/violence, deception, disobedience to God, lack of gratefulness, and bitterness.
I ended the teaching with this truth:
The Bible teaches that human beings are so proud, so thoroughly inwardly depraved and crooked that only the humility and condescension of God can bring deliverance. No person is really humble until they meet Jesus. The plan of salvation is God finding a way through the Cross to break a person’s pride, humble their heart, and then keep them living in “reality.”
So, what is really happening in the “Pride” displays all over the nation? It’s this: radical atheists are trying to bring their view of sexuality into normalcy in a new America they want to forcibly create.
We need to stop them with courage and humility.
For two hundred years, America enjoyed the blessings of a biblical worldview of sex and marriage. It was never perfect with plenty of exceptions, but biblical morality was the norm in creating a healthy and prosperous society.
Its basis? “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Jesus Himself added: “So there are not two, but one. God has joined the two together, so no one should separate them” (Matthew 19:5,6).
Alexis de Tocqueville, the great French historian, was so impressed with the importance of marriage & family in the early America that he called it the secret of American freedom.
That freedom is being destroyed in our day through “pride.” I will illustrate that by referring to the cultural trinity.
In God’s view of reality shared clearly with us in the Bible, honest and clear-minded human beings are drawn to three important values in life: Truth, goodness, and beauty. In biblical morality, a man and a woman save their sexual relationship for marriage (True Love Waits), they build families based on Christ-like character, and see beauty in God’s creation and ways.
That’s what de Tocqueville glimpsed in the early American family.
On the other hand, atheist morality inspired by Satan and his rebellion against God, says that “you can have sex with anyone you want and be any sex you want.”
This crushes truth to bits, creates sexual chaos and confusion (bad character), proliferates venereal diseases, depression, and multiplies ugliness and perversity (i.e. drag queens, naked men in parades, and “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” who were recently “proudly” honored by the Los Angeles Dodgers.)
Atheist morality hates the Truth, doesn’t care about character, and creates ugliness and debauchery–all of it motivated by the bad form of pride.
See the cultural difference? It’s as opposite as “light and darkness” because that’s what it is.
And there are consequences.
Milton warns us:
[This] pride diminishes our humanity. The celebration of the heretofore unspeakable is the tragically logical outcome of an earlier deadly move: willful unbelief. To deny God is to seek to deface Him. To deface God is to distort His image. Because we are made in the image of God, to distort God’s image is to defile humanity. And to defile humanity is to destroy ourselves.
Derek Prince urged us in 1981:
I believe the first requirement for effective praying is that we repent collectively for the sinfulness of our nation. I believe the great basic spiritual problem of America is a spirit of rebelliousness… As we come to God on the basis of repentance and humility for these national sins, then we have the right to intercede and to intervene into the spiritual realm and to bind and cast down the satanic spiritual powers that are at work against the well being and the prosperity of the American people.
In a certain sense, out of all of this, I see good coming. I believe there can be a kind of spiritual backlash against Satan and against Satan’s activities that will usher in a new era of righteousness and of seeking God by American Christians. Let us pray that it may be so.
“God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).