“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. “ (Reference: Proverbs 11:2 )
Joost de Tollenaer wrote to his daughter “A proud heart is an abomination unto the Lord, and it shall not remain unpunished . . . . Out of it proceeds all pride, when man apostatizes [meaning forsaking one’s faith] from God, and departs with his heart from the Creator; and pride impels to all sin, and he that is infected with it causes many abominations.” [Insert mine]
You would be hard pressed to find an Anabaptist/Mennonite born before, say 1960, who has a strong sense of pride. Pride in self or pride in another is not a trait of Anabaptists/Mennonites – at least not one that they would own up to. Unfortunately that includes not only the pride that de Tollenaer and the writer of Proverbs talks about but also pride in worthwhile and legitimate endeavors. We Anabaptists/Mennonites are subject to both humility and false humility – the “aw shucks” response when someone congratulates us on something. We do not handle compliments well.
But compliments is not what de Tollenaer or the writer of Proverbs is talking about. The word in the Hebrew is closer akin to arrogance or insolence – the haughty “look down your nose at others” attitude. So one can imagine there will be a “comeuppance” sooner or later. Later perhaps being when one is “disciplined” by God. Therefore avoiding that by being humble is a wise decision.
But what about moderate and deserved pride in one’s accomplishments. Having false humility is as serious a charge, in the Anabaptist/Mennonite world I grew up in, as pride. Doubly so in a sense, because not only are you hiding the “sin” of pride but you are lying to cover it up! The better course, again in the Anabaptist/Mennonite world I grew up in, is to be modest and humble in thought and action – and let others compliment you and sing your praises! Giggle if you must, beloved, but it is a serious thing, this having pride!
Ah me, beloved. Sometimes it is not easy being an Anabaptist/Mennonite – historic or contemporary. May you, beloved, keep far from the sin of pride. May you look upon yourself with humility but also a strong sense of your own with as seen through God’s compassionate and caring eyes. Selah!