Redemptive Pride

Have you ever been told "pride comes before the fall"?  It is one of those sayings we hear often that is attributed to the Bible but is not actually in the Bible.  The idea is taken from Proverbs 16:8 which says, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall" (KJV).  Taking hold of this verse, fourth century monk Evagrius Ponticus used it to declare pride as one of the "seven deadly sins," thus beginning a 1,600-year Christian belief that pride was sinful.

This time of year, there are many LGBTQ Pride events and so this scripture gets dusted off and brought once again to the forefront.  I recently ran into an article where some of the trainers at CrossFit planned a workout to celebrate Indy Pride.  However, when the owners got wind of it they quickly canceled the planned event.  When members of the gym threatened to withdraw their membership the owners quickly responded with an email saying that they were not discriminating against LGBTQ community because of who they are, but rather because of their pride.  Their email read in part, "Total health involves the body, the emotions, relationships, and the spirit.  At the foundational detractor from health, as we believe God sets the parameters for, is pride.  We believe that true health forever can only be found within humility, not pride."  

It is now ok to be gay, just not proud about it.  (

This made me cringe and then laugh.  I wonder how many heterosexual members of this CrossFit gym own a car with a bumper sticker that reads "Proud Parent of an Honor Roll Student."  I wonder how many times one of their trainers says "I am proud of you" to one of their clients who hits a milestone.  The truth of the matter is there is nothing wrong with being proud.  The original Hebrew of Proverbs 16:18 reads
גָּאֹ֑ון goes before destruction".  גָּאֹ֑ון is translated as "pride" only once in the King James Version of the Bible.  It is most often rendered as "arrogance", and there is a big difference between being proud and being arrogant.

This is the problem we face when translating from one language to another, choosing the wrong word can lead to a total different meaning. defines "pride" as the consciousness of one’s own dignity.  They define being "arrogant" as an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance.

Placing Proverbs 16:18 in the wider context of the biblical message, it makes more sense to see that the wisdom Solomon was passing down to us was not the evils of believing you are worthy of being, but rather the destructiveness of believing you are better than others.  The sinner here is not the LGBTQ community who publicly declare their self-worth, but those whose arrogance leads them to believe that heterosexual, cis gender love is superior and healthier.  They have an exaggerated sense of their own importance by declaring this belief as God’s.   

As you attend Pride events this June, remember you are not sinning.  No, the opposite is true.  By declaring your inherit self-worth you are being set free from the sin of shame through redemptive pride.  Stand tall.  Wave your rainbow flag.  Be proud and enjoy being you!