Is Pride Worth Celebrating?

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June is considered LGBT Pride Month in the United States, Canada, and many other nations. Throughout the month various activities, including Pride Parades, will be taking place in celebration and honor of the LGBT community and sexual diversity. But this celebration of LGBT Pride points to something the Bible warns against time and time again—and it is not just sexual immorality.

Pride: Confidence in Self

As the name suggests, at the heart of Pride Month and other Pride celebrations, and even the idea of Pride, is the sin of pride. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines pride as “both a disposition/attitude and a type of conduct,” with a proud person being “a sinful individual who shifts ultimate confidence from God to self.”

In the Old Testament book of Daniel, we find the quintessential example of pride: the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. By human standards, he had every right to be proud. He was the ruler of the most powerful kingdom at the time, and his capital was a dazzling city that was the envy of the ancient world. No wonder he said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30).

But God “opposes the proud” (James 4:6). Just as Daniel had told Nebuchadnezzar, the proud king was humbled for seven years until he “blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever” (Daniel 4:34). His pride was his downfall because God hates pride.

Why God Hates Pride

At the heart of Pride Month and Pride celebrations throughout the year is pride. Pride comes from a rebellious heart that rejects the benevolent authority of the Creator. A proud person ultimately claims to know better than God and his Word and believes that inventing our own rules and celebrating our own choices, achievements, and desires is greater than what God has commanded in his Word. It’s a movement that puts the focus squarely on us rather than on God.

Pride comes from a rebellious heart that rejects the benevolent authority of the Creator.

Of course, pride is not unique to the LGBT community. It is something we all struggle with. But with the growing LGBT movement has come a public upwelling and celebration of pride, generally, and also specifically against the Creator and his rules for sexual purity and marriage.

And the Bible is very clear about pride: God hates it and will oppose those who are proud.

Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
be assured, he will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)
The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.
Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. (Proverbs 8:13)
The pride of your heart has deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rock,
in your lofty dwelling,
who say in your heart,
“Who will bring me down to the ground?” (Obadiah 1:3)
The haughty looks of man shall be brought low,
and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled,
and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. (Isaiah 2:11)

Pride: The First Sin

The first sin was really an example of pride.

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:4–6)

Deceived by the serpent, Eve believed God was selfishly withholding equality that she wanted, took the fruit and ate before offering it to Adam, who also ate. At the heart of their rebellion was pride in their own thinking and lust after what they wanted. But it broke creation (Romans 8:22) and brought death and the curse into what was, moments before, a “very good” creation (Genesis 1:31).

“Pride Is the Root of All Sin”

The prophet Ezekiel, delivering a message from the Lord against Jerusalem (representing Judah), the Lord’s faithless bride, mentions the city of Sodom.1 This city was destroyed in Genesis 19 because of rampant homosexuality and other sins. Despite this city being destroyed in judgment, Ezekiel claims Judah has done things even Sodom did not do.

As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it. (Ezekiel 16:48–50)

As a former lesbian who became a born-again believer, Rosaria Butterfield comments on this passage in her book The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert:

I found this passage to reveal some surprising things. In it, God is comparing Jerusalem to Sodom and saying that Sodom's sin is less offensive to God than Jerusalem's. Next, God tells us what is at the root of homosexuality and what the progression of sin is. We read here that the root of homosexuality is also the root of a myriad of other sins. First we find pride ("[Sodom] and her daughters had pride”). Why pride? Pride is the root of all sin. Pride puffs one up with a false sense of independence. Proud people always feel that they can live independently from God and from other people. Proud people feel entitled to do what they want when they want to.

The first sin of Sodom was pride and pride led to the other sins, including forsaking the poor and committing abomination before the Lord (homosexual relations; cf. Genesis 19; Leviticus 18:22). Pride always leads to more sin as we arrogantly think more of ourselves and less of God and his revealed Word.

A Battle of Pride

Sadly, many in the church are embracing LBGT Pride. Not only does such a stance ignore the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexuality, but it exalts human pride. It assumes we know more about love, mercy, and acceptance (all defined by our own terms) than our God who is love (1 John 4:8), is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4), and invites all to receive the free gift of salvation (John 7:37; Romans 10:9). And this God of love, mercy, and forgiveness has defined marriage as between one man and one woman (Genesis 1:27, 2:24).

Sadly, many in the church are embracing LBGT Pride.

The battle over marriage and gender being waged right now in the church is about much more than the institution of marriage or the binary nature of gender. It is ultimately about pride. Will we allow God, our Creator and Judge, to be our authority, or will we exalt our own beliefs and opinions (or those of our sinful culture) above God and his Word? Will we elevate ourselves to judge and dishonor God, like Eve, thinking he is capriciously withholding something good from us?

Heaven Rules

Over this next month, rainbow-colored flags will flutter in parades, and many people will adorn rainbow-themed attire to celebrate Pride. But these individuals are not truly celebrating sexual diversity. They are celebrating rebellion against God (ironically, while using the rainbow, a symbol God already gave meaning to in Genesis 9:8–17). As Daniel warned Nebuchadnezzar hundreds of years ago, we must warn our generation “that Heaven rules” (Daniel 4:26) and that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). It’s not too late to change:

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Footnotes

  1. Sodom here may be represented by those who escaped Sodom (Lot and his daughters) and who subsequently fathered the nations of Ammon and Moab. It is also possible that this is a both referring to literal Sodom and its destruction, as well as the destruction of its “offshoots” of Ammon and Moab (possibly referring to 2 Chronicles 20), and their being taken into captivity by Babylon (possibly referred to in Isaiah 16 and definitely in Jeremiah 27).

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