Pride is a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, and whilst it is not wrong to be proud of some achievements, problems arise when we put more emphasis on these achievements than on God. It’s easy to put ourselves at the centre and relegate God to the periphery, and when this happens, we are apt to fall into the trap of self-righteousness.
Jesus told a parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). The parable was told because some ‘were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else.’ (Luke 18:9) The Pharisee was entirely caught up in himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ (Luke 18:11-12) The tax collector simply appealed to God’s mercy, and as a result he, and not the Pharisee, went home justified before God. We need to let go of pride in ourselves and our competence and self-confidence and learn to cultivate humility and an awareness of God. As Jeremiah told us and Paul reiterated, ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’ (Jer 9:24, 1 Cor 1:31)