In the Name of Love (Pride)

Back in September of 1984, the band U2 released what became one of its most well-known songs… Pride (In the Name of Love).

According to it is…

“…a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. An exhibit dedicated to the civil rights leader was on display at the Chicago Peace Museum in 1983 when the band visited.”

The article then goes on to describe what Bono (the lead singer of U2) had intended when the lyrics were originally penned…

“Bono is speaking about those throughout history who have died because they preached of the equality of all men and practiced nonviolence as the only way to achieve their goal of having this equality universally recognized.

MLK is the primary example of nonviolent resistance as the only way to bring about changes in civil rights. But there are allusions to others; Christ for example.

The song is about singular “people” (including Christ as man) that lived their life with pride. Not in a boastful way, but with the pride a person has when their thoughts and actions are motivated by their understanding and full awareness of the dignity and sanctity of ALL human life.

The song is a tribute or illustration or reminder to us, of martyrs to this ideal. It speaks to how they lived their life with an inner Pride in all of humanity and that this Pride is really an expression of God’s love for all of humanity. These people did what they did because they were trying to spread this message of God’s love for all of mankind.”

It is clear that what was originally meant in the song’s content and title is that “pride” points to a boldness to act with a peaceful impact, which is grounded or fueled by love. In other words, in the song, pride is defined by what is in the parenthesis of the song title (love).

All well and good, I get it.

However, caution must be exercised when pride and love are handled as though they are synonymous. Why do I say this? Because pride and love according to scripture, are usually in complete antithesis to each other…

1 Corinthians 8:1b-3 (HCSB)
“Knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up. If anyone thinks he knows anything, he does not yet know it as he ought to know it. But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.”

So, this poses a question…

Like Bono, does scripture ever refer to pride in a positive sense?


2 Corinthians 1:12-14 (HCSB)
“For this is our confidence: The testimony of our conscience is that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with God-given sincerity and purity, not by fleshly wisdom but by God’s grace. Now we are writing nothing to you other than what you can read and also understand. I hope you will understand completely — as you have partially understood us — that we are your reason for pride, as you are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.”

However, this is not typical. Instead, pride in the Bible overwhelmingly refers to the essence of all that is wrong with the world.

Here is an example…

Proverbs 16:18 (HCSB)
“Pride comes before destruction,
and an arrogant spirit before a fall.”

So, what makes things right in the world?

The opposite of pride… LOVE!!

The Apostle John writes extensively in his first epistle about love, and what it means Biblically speaking. In this letter, pride is certainly not harmonized with love as the world harmonizes the two of them. Instead, John does the opposite of the world. He contrasts pride and love…

1 John 2:15-16 (HCSB)
“Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything that belongs to the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle — is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

According to the world, pride defines love. It is reversed from the original intention and title of the U2 hit. A good way to describe worldly love, as the title of this blog article is named, looks more like the name of the song’s mirror image…

In the Name of Love (Pride)

Unfortunately, a few years ago at a U2 concert, the song’s composer fully demonstrated what I’m talking about. Ironically, it was done while performing this very same song…

Back on May 27, 2015 in Inglewood, California, U2 would perform the song with a worldly twist from its original meaning. During the performance of “Pride (In the Name of Love),” a fan from the crowd had tossed a rainbow flag onto the catwalk. The lead singer (Bono) then picked up the flag, proudly carried it around the stage, draped it over some equipment, threw his fist in the air, and then announced during the song…

“GAY pride!! In the name of love!!”

(A video of this performance is contained in an article found here. Judge for yourself. Bono makes the above statement at 3:45. At 4:07 he says, “This is a moment to talk about peace… and love,” and then further describes love according to how the world views love.)

This article also reveals what had most likely motivated that someone from the crowd to toss the flag onto the stage during this specific song. Just four days earlier, this had happened…

“After the band’s native Ireland legalized gay marriage on May 23, U2 dedicated the same song to the cause at its show that night in Phoenix.”

My goal here is NOT to pick on U2, but to use this reference as an example to show how the world loves differently than how the New Testament calls the church to love in scripture. In other words, pride is what replaces Christ with respect to worldly love, and Christians need to be careful to not do the same.

Charles Leiter, in his book “The Law of Christ,” describes the difference of how the world expresses love, as opposed to how Christ expressed love…

“Abortion advocates frequently claim “love” as their motivation, since they want to “help” those with unwanted pregnancies and “save” unborn children from the “life of misery” that supposedly lies ahead of them. Assisted suicides are performed by doctors in the name of compassion and “love,” since those whom they are “assisting” are suffering and want to die. In the name of “love” lusts are gratified, lies are told, murders are committed, and criminals are set free. It seems that the Lord Jesus has left us with a very flexible and nearly worthless standard of conduct! The problem with such reasoning is that it does not quote the new commandment in its entirety. Jesus did not simply say, “Love one another”; He said, “Love one another, even as I have loved you .” In other words, our definition of “love” must come from the very conduct and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself!”

When Paul wrote to the Romans, he encouraged them to avoid a worldly mindset…

Romans 12:9, 16b & d (HCSB)
“Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good… Do not be proud… Do not be wise in your own estimation.”

May we (Christians) always put off pride, and instead…

Put on Christ (in the name of love).

Godspeed, to the brethren!