The Impact of Pride on the Home
I am proud of my children and grandchildren. Not in the sense of arrogance, egotism, and narcissism — the “pride” God repeatedly condemns in scripture (see Prov. 8:13; 11:2; 16:18; 29:23; Mark 7:22; 1 John 2:15-17; etc.). This is sinful under any circumstance.
“Pride”, though, as we often use it colloquially means thankfulness. The “pride” I experience because of my family swells into humble thanksgiving to God from my heart and wells into joyful tears of gratitude in my eyes. The “pride” scripture condemns draws people away from God; pride as humble thankfulness to God draws people near Him.
Distinguishing these requires discernment. “Am I lifting myself up, looking down at others, and leaving God out?” or “am I humbly grateful for and strengthened by the rich blessing of family with which God has graced me”? Truly,
… children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.
God designed family to instill a sense of loving belonging, diligent drive to grow one another, and God-ward thankfulness for the special place God gave family in our lives. Turning this to arrogance is a monstrous perversion of what God gave to enrich our lives as His servants both now and toward eternity.
Arrogant pride has no place either in godly hearts or God-centered families. Yet egotism / narcissism can rear its ugly head (Satan’s head!) into our families if we take our eyes off of Jesus in our daily, family walk. Consider some dangers and God’s cures.
Pride of husbands and wives
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church… But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Husbands pridefully viewing headship over the wife as some grand, regal privilege granted by God to make them superior need to read the next verse. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). Jesus modeled loving headship — servant leadership. The husband’s headship is a grave, godly responsibility to lead the home with the sacrificial heart of Jesus. Agape, not arrogance, must drive us.
Wives pridefully viewing submission as demeaning or as some kind of competition with her husband — rather than godly service — would do well to focus on the ultimate example of submission: Jesus. His submission to the will of the Father was both beautiful and powerful (Phil. 2:5-11), modeling servanthood through which all can learn and grow. Again, agape, not arrogance, must drive us.
Godly husbands and wives seek the best for one another in the will of God, modeling the love of Jesus and striving to bring that out in one another. Where this loving humility and service prevails, both draw nearer to God — and one another — just like God designed.
Pride of fathers and mothers
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.
Children: one of the most important stewardships God invests in anyone. “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord” (Ps. 127:3) to be brought up by parents “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). God places these tender, helpless, malleable little lives into our hands, willing us to instill in them the value of loving God (Deut. 6:1-9) and all that entails. What a sobering task, requiring godly diligence and presence in body—mind—heart. Children are not toys for mere enjoyment, but eternal creations of God who need to be taught what it means to be children of God. This education demands parental godliness (exemplifying God’s will), instruction concerning both God’s nature and will (specific teaching), and firm, loving implementation of God’s will (modeled after God’s love of His children).
Arrogant pride enters when parents view children as a source of bragging rights due to their athletic, musical, academic, or spiritual prowess. This leads to unhealthy competition with other parents — a desire to show their children superior. This parental arrogance is destructive to the children, friendships (both of the children and their parents), and the church.
God designed parenthood to keep God at the center of who they are and what they do. Extracurricular activities provide wonderful diversion and greater opportunity for healthy, well-balanced lives, but obsession to carnally-centered perfection and selfish competition remove eyes and hearts from the love of God and others. Balancing these requires a hard look at the amount of time consumed by the activities, the attitudes used in them, and the long-lasting attitudes being developed by them. Moms and Dads need to communicate with each other and their children, making sure God stays (assemblies, prayer, time with God’s word, service to others, etc.) and grows at the heart of who they are as individuals and as a family. Humble service to God is the focus of godly parenting.
Pride of children.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), So that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
Growth is painful — for parents and children. From the time children come into this world, seeds that develop the longing for independence begin to germinate. By the teenage years they awaken to full bloom.
Suddenly, they become more intelligent, better informed, and possessing of greater wisdom than their parents! They discover their parents have no clue what it means to be a teenager. “You don’t understand! Things are so different today!”
Most teenagers — at some point in their maturing process — feel this way. Some handle this better than others, but the angst for independence still presents itself. Rather than submission to parents, teens want to make their own decisions.
It takes a great deal of self-control and humility on the part of a teen to handle these strong desires with maturity. Teens, remember: your parents love you more than their own lives. They would do anything to help you in this journey to adulthood. Humility in relationship to your parents is one of the greatest tools God uses to teach you humility to Him. And remember: the more maturely you conduct yourself, the more quickly you will mature.
I am filled with thankfulness and humility at the very thought of my children and grandchildren. This is how we often use the word “proud.”
But arrogant “Pride goes before destruction…” (Prov. 16:18) and is universally condemned in scripture. Jesus said, “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand” (Mark 3:25). Arrogant pride exacts quite a toll.
Love, thankfulness, and humility reside at the heart of every healthy family. The grace of God and the love of Jesus exemplify, instruct, and strengthen families for Him. These alleviate arrogant pride, instill humility and gratefulness, and shape godly families. Thank you, Lord, for your awe-inspiring gifts!
by Shane Carrington