Our Pride Comes in Many Colors

As the rainbow flag proudly waves over my city’s Pride Festival this weekend, a prism of color fills my instagram feed with stories of friends coming out and reminding the world that love is love.

But what is love? I ask.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud….” 1 Corinthians 13

Love is not proud. Did you catch that?

The word “proud” comes from a Greek word meaning to “puff up” or “blow up”, inflating the view of oneself. Just a few chapters earlier, we read that the Corinthian church boasted of accepting sinful behavior (1 Corinthians 5). They were tolerating sexual sin, things that God had forbidden in the Old Testament Scriptures. They thought they knew better than God, but Paul told them to rid themselves of this prideful behavior.

Pride and love cannot co-exist.

The object of our own affection

How ironic that pride is the anthem of sexual identity and the theme of parades marching under the banner of love.  But this form of love is not the same love God’s Word describes. No, this love relies on self-identification and self-glorification. Because pride always makes you the object of your affection.

“I’ve finally discovered who I am.”

“I am being true to myself.”

“I love who I love.”

Just some of the language in every coming out story I’ve read. But what if those words weren’t really describing sexual orientation at all? What if those words more broadly applied to all sin, echoing the pride in the corners of our own hearts.

“I’ve finally discovered who I am.”

“I am being true to myself.”

“I love what I love.”

The words apply to all of our sins, capturing the deeper reality that we all struggle with self-glorification. When we become the object of our own affection, we create an inflated view of ourselves and trust our ways over God’s Word.

Pride ultimately tells us, “I know better than God”. And it comes in every color of the rainbow. The early church father St. Augustine claimed that the root of all sin is pride, painting the human heart with every shade of sin we can possibly imagine.

Augustine writes, “‘Pride is the commencement of all sin because it was this which overthrew the devil, from whom arose the origin of sin; and afterwards, when his malice and envy pursued man, who was yet standing in his uprightness, it subverted him in the same way in which he himself fell. For the serpent, in fact, only sought for the door of pride whereby to enter when he said, ‘Ye shall be as gods.'”

Satan fell from the heavens, believing He could be like God, and he used the same lie to lure Eve into the original sin. Just take a bite. It looks good to you so it must be good for you. God doesn’t know what He’s talking about.

Credit: Alessandro De Bellis

The humility of wisdom

It takes humility to be wise. It takes humility to love God’s Word. It takes humility to admit that we don’t know it all, that our desires can be evil, that God came before us and He is the One who knows best. Our “enlightened society” is no less confused and no less sinful than previous generations. We do not have a “special understanding” that makes us exempt from the black and white truth of God’s Word.

You and I. We are prideful. But let us not celebrate this pride. Let us rid ourselves of it as Paul admonished us to do and humble ourselves by truly loving the One who knows best.

“Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23-24

One thought on “Our Pride Comes in Many Colors

  1. A pleasure to read your opinion.
    You wrote: “When we become the object of our own affection, we create an inflated view of ourselves and trust our ways over God’s Word.” They have turned themselves into their own “god” thus engaging in idolatry.

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