Ask Pastor Roger Barrier - Church Leadership

Should I Be Proud of My Child?

Should I Be Proud of My Child?

Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at

Dear Roger,

I was at the soccer field, sitting next to one of my Bible group friends, when my 10-year-old made a goal. I said to my friend, “I’m so proud of him.”

My friend replied, “It’s a sin to be proud. The Bible teaches that God hates pride.”

Is that right?


Dear Samantha,

There is a giant difference between being “proud” of someone else and having “pride” in yourself… and it’s a spiritual difference worth studying. 

What is pride? 

Pastor and Theologian Charles Finney described pride as “a disposition to exalt self, to get above others, to hide our defects, and to pass for more than we are."

Founding Father Daniel Webster called pride “inordinate self-esteem; conceit; ostentatious display."

My definition? Pride is an over-concern with myself.

I wanted to be the best pastor God ever had. I imagined walking through St. Peter’s Gate into heaven and hearing God say, “Oh, Roger, You’re finally here! You were the best pastor I ever had! You did things Moses never did!” 

I thought that growing a big church made me a great pastor. But in truth, is this not pure, unadulterated, ugly pride? 

  • Pride is a secret fondness to be noticed.
  • Pride is a love of supremacy.
  • Pride is drawing attention to yourself in conversation.
  • Pride is enjoying being flattered.
  • Pride is a swelling out of self when we’re free to speak or to pray.
  • Pride is loving to have your name at the top of the list.
  • Pride is when the praise of men is sweet to your taste.

A Christianity Today survey of almost 100 pastors of large churches revealed a great passion to build a large church, but not a corresponding passion to know God. That breaks my heart… I know it breaks God’s too.

Why does God hate pride? 

God is not out to hurt our pride.  He's out to kill it. In Proverbs 8:13, He declares, “I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” King Solomon writes in Proverbs 16:5, “The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: ‘They will not go unpunished.’”

When we understand why God hates pride so deeply, we will hate it, too!

1. God hates pride because of the absolute devastation that comes through it.

Proverbs 16:18 teaches that “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Satan was the worship leader in heaven until he got proud. He said, “I will ascend to heaven. I will be like God.” This is simply unadulterated pride. God and Satan were no longer friends; in fact, they were now archenemies.

Satan tempted Adam and Eve. Once again we see unadulterated pride: "You can be like God." They never walked together in the Garden again… and our sinful, ugly, broken world is the direct result of pride.

2. God hates pride because it ruins relationships. 

Proverbs 13:10 says, "Pride only breeds quarrels." 

Proverbs 6:16-19 declares, “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes lying tongue… and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

What begins with pride ends with fighting among brothers!

Just think of how many church fights occurred because someone got proud! How many homes and civilizations are destroyed because of pride and selfishness?

3. God hates pride because pride is an over-concern with myself. 

The Bible says that our “self” is the person that we are. It is often good and holy. Paul called this our new nature as Christians. 

There are times when our “self” is wicked and sinful. Paul calls this our “sin nature.” Our sin nature manifests itself in three ways. Look carefully and you will realize that every single sin in the Bible traces back to one or all of these three activities of the “self.” 

  • Self-Reliance: “If I have a problem I don’t need you or anyone else to help. I can take care of it myself.” This is a superiority complex.
  • Self-Centeredness: “I will take from you to meet my wants and needs.” This also is a superiority complex. “I am more important than you are!”
  • Self-Condemnation: “I’d love to do things for God but I’m not worth much. I can’t do much. God’s not interested in using me.” This is an inferiority complex.

4. Pride ruins our ability to fulfill the greatest commandment to love God and love others.

Can you imagine that if you are filled with self-reliance, self-centeredness and self-condemnation that you would have a difficult time fulfilling Matthew 22:37-40?

Matthew 22:37-40: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

5. God hates pride because pride is so deceptive that we might miss it for what it is. 

Author and theologian C.S. Lewis wrote, “There is one vice of which no man in the world is free, which everyone loathes when he sees it in someone else, and of which hardly anyone imagines that he is guilty... I am talking of pride.”

People admit that they are bad-tempered, cowards, jealous, bitter. But few accuse themselves of pride.

6. God hates pride because we devalue his image in us. 

The flip side of pride is self-condemnation, or what we might call an inferiority complex.

David wrote in Psalm 139:13-14: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I'm suggesting that our self-condemnation and fear of what people think of us are nothing more than the flip side of pride, which is sin.

Why are you always withdrawing? What's the problem? Perhaps you're afraid? You're afraid of what others will think of you. This is pride!

Humility is the antidote to pride. 

James taught that humility is a verb. 

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:7-10 NIV)

What does humility look like?

  • Humility is allowing our needs to be met in the context of others.
  • Humility is washing dirty feet.
  • Humility is receiving a compliment or a gift without trying to give it back.
  • Humility is having a heart of service to meet the needs of others.
  • Humility is love and comforting others.
  • Humility is tenderness and compassion.
  • Humility is driving out selfish ambition and vain conceit.
  • Humility is caring for the sheep on the back side of the mountain when no one else is around to see.
  • Humility is considering others better than yourself.
  • Humility is following in the footsteps of Jesus. 

Only one time in all the Scriptures does Jesus describe his character. He described himself as “gentle and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29).

Look at Jesus! 

“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a brutal crucifixion.” (Philippians 2:5-8 MSG)

What is “proud”?

We’ve taken a long look at pride. We know what it is. 

On the other hand, “proud” has to do with feeling good about ourselves and rejoicing in the goodness and the accomplishment of others. It’s okay to be proud of your son; just don’t become arrogant and obnoxious.

Humility exhibits the attitude of John the Baptist when he was confronted with the fact that Jesus was baptizing more than he was! He simply said, “He must become greater, I must become less” (John 3:30). John pointed the way to Jesus… many times he revealed that he was proud and humbled to pave the way for the Messiah.

Samantha, your son should always know you are proud of him! Affirm him. Encourage him. Love him unconditionally. But as he grows up, teach him to be selfless and humble.  

Sincerely, Roger

Ask RogerDr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Vasyl Dolmatov

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