When pride became the name of a month that businesses and schools began to celebrate, I considered how the word itself is viewed by our kids.
I’ll be honest, I hesitated to write this post. I know I risk offending people on both sides of LGBTQ+ issues. However, If you spend time on the internet (and obviously you do, since you are reading this post) you know that ignoring Pride Month is hard. If you are a Christian, you may want to avoid the topic altogether or you may wonder if you should be ignoring it.
The big debate around our schools right now is if and when we should have LGBTQ+ discussions with our children. Last year, I discussed this very thing with a preschool director. Her organization asked her to promote Pride Month to her preschoolers. It was suggested she set up a display of rainbow flags and stickers to give to two, three, four, and five-year-olds. Monies were allocated for a “pride” celebration. Aside from the LGBTQ+ conversations, I began to consider if and when pride should be celebrated.
What Bible says about pride
We encourage children to take pride in themselves and in their achievements. As parents and educators, we love seeing the individual children discover their own likes and dislikes. It is not uncommon to tell children they should be proud of what they’ve done or who they are. Compare those ideas to Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” You can find many other biblical references that caution us about pride. Likewise, Proverbs 8:13 even tells us that God himself hates pride. Therefore, It is important to know why pride is so strongly warned against. Is it always a sin to feel proud of something you have accomplished? Is it a sin to be proud of who you are?
When pride is wrong
Pride is wrong when we value something over Christ himself. For example, we can help children to learn about pride by reading them The Little Pot. In the story, Little Pot was a proud paper pot when the potter gave it papers to hold. It felt smart. However, the potter took the papers away. Then, the little pot held coins, and felt rich and proud. However, the potter removed the coins too. Eventually, the little pot grows fruit and begins to discover that growing fruit for the potter is best.
Even after the little pot becomes a fruit pot, pride creeps in. In the second book, The Tea Pot, a teapot convinces Little Pot that the fruit is something it should be proud of. The two vessels decide they want to keep the fruit and tea. Essentially their fruit and tea become more important than the potter. In addition, they forget that it is the potter who grows the fruit and brews the tea. They are merely the vessels that the potter works through.
Pride is also illustrated in the third book, The Oil Lamp. In this story, a little oil lamp learns to shine a light. Yet, when the lamp becomes proud of the flame, it blazes hotter and burns the other vessels. This causes them to move away from the light.
Pride can lead us away from our creator
The same things can happen to us. When we grow love, joy, peace, patience (etc.), we can become more focused on the character traits than on the fact that they are the fruit of God. It is God who grows them through us. In the same way, we can also develop pride in how we shine. We begin to think we are the ones who create light and forget that it is God who put the light inside us. In doing so, we “burn” so brightly that we turn others away from Christ instead of drawing them closer to Him. Pride is wrong when we value the things God gives us over God Himself. Pride is wrong when we no longer see God’s part in it.
“Keep seeking Jesus more than your calling”.
“Time Spent with Christ is far more important than the things I do for Christ of any title I hold”.–Beth Moore and Heather Riggleman
When pride is good
Pride is good when we see that without God we can do nothing (John 15:5). Therefore, our pride is in Christ and we give God praise for the things we do and have. If we see things this way, we have humility. Likewise, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).
Today “Pride” is also defined as the self-affirmation, dignity, and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. The word is used to encourage these people (and others) to be proud of who they are. Aside from your position on the lifestyle or biblical teachings against homosexual activities, one should ask if is it good to be proud of who we are apart from Christ. As Christians, our identity should be found in Him, not in ourselves. A vessel must always remember it was created by the potter. It grows fruit, serves, and shines at the potter’s will not its own.
As a Christian school principal, I always tried to make sure my students gave God recognition when they did something great. I would say things like, “Thanks, for letting God use you!” or “You did that?! That’s awesome. God is so amazing to use you in that way!” It’s important to keep our kids’ focus on the fact that it is God who works in us to do good. We should always be proud of that!
Become a fruit-bearing vessel like Little Pot!
Being a fruit-bearing vessel is not as easy as reading a children’s picture book. That is why Little Pot and I have come up with a seven-step process that will allow the potter to grow love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control through you. Just put in your first name and email so we can send you those seven steps. Then you’ll get a fruitful Friday email each week with ways to be even more fruitful!