Proud – a matter of semantics, maybe?


A deja vu.  I’m stuck again.  Can’t think of anything to blog about. Short of standing on my head, I’ve tried every trick to dance my way to an idea, including staring at the ceiling hours before sleep at night, gawking at flowers and weeds beyond my front patio, even talking to birds that flutter past my window. Nothing. And this has happened several times before.

Why is it that when I will to write, the muse wields no inspiration?  But there have been moments when visions of topics pop in my mind and I swipe them aside because the interest isn’t there.  When I want them back, they’re gone.  I can’t remember them the attractive way they first presented themselves to me. The vision and the pictures fizzled out. Then I fuss; that was very silly just to let them go.

So now, I’m back to jabbering and listening to the tap of keys on my laptop. The sounds are monotonous.  But wait, they’re perking up – I wonder if there’s an idea coming.  I stop.  Silence.  No finger tapping of keys.  Maybe I can reach out for something in the quiet … the silence can spin magic sometimes.  Be still, I tell myself.  Words are creeping through: a thought, a memory, just yesterday – aha!  Gotcha!

Yesterday was church Sunday. I listened to a sermon by Pastor Scott Grant of Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California. It was part of a series on “Explore God (Questions of Faith)” currently preached by over 100 Christian churches in the Bay Area.  A topic so fitting in this era of advanced knowledge and technology and in this Silicon Valley where many, even believers, are caught in the distractions of materialism and comfort. Pastor Scott’s teaching encouraged seeking and following Jesus’ way to free us from entanglements that snare us away from God.

I attended the class that followed the service, and there was a discussion on pride.  Pride is the greatest sin, according to Scripture, for it leads to blasphemy, believing that one’s self is greater than God. The question was, is it all right to have a little pride in one’s self, a little pat on the back for any work well done.  A boost to one’s self esteem, satisfaction for one’s effort, a celebration in a way, though not without gratitude for God’s enablement and help.

Pastor Scott’s response to the question, not a surprise perhaps to most – no, don’t give yourself the pat on the back; don’t be prideful, even just for a little bit, of your accomplishment or doing; give all the credit and glory to God – for even just a little pride in yourself is sin.  I pondered for a while. “Not even a tiny bit,” I pushed, before blurting out, “But I’m so grateful to God!”  Someone else in the class said that perhaps, it’s a matter of semantics.  Instead of saying, “I’m proud to have done …”, say, “I’m happy to have done …”. Another commented, that little pride could just be thankfulness and elation that God was there in the midst of the doing, that He caused the good outcome of our effort through any and all obstacles.

There it is, a change of semantics.  I’m glad I asked.  So, when I’m pleased with what I’ve done or with myself, it’s best to say or think “I’m happy that …”, or “I’m pleased that …”.   Then, why not strike “proud” out of our vocabulary when pertaining to self.  But it’s okey if we say it in regards to how we feel about someone else — like I often say this to my grandson Eliott, or to my son John or daughter Joy (and said to my husband when he was alive) — “I’m proud of you”.

But not of myself.  Hmm …

Okey, I’m pleased that I came up with an intriguing idea for this blog, and I thank God for this loving, provoking guidance. Really, a gem.

Linda P. Jacob

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