Arrogance and Pride

Title: Arrogance and Pride
Category: Emotional Issues
Subject: Arrogance; Pride
Arrogance and Pride

This information was not authored by the Editor, rather the Editor serves as a contact person. This information was provided by the office of Keith Hamilton with the Georgia Baptist Convention.

This is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8). As Jesus directed his followers to do what God required, he taught them to let their lights shine (Matthew 5:16). Many people have difficulty letting their lights shine with humility. Many who identify themselves as Christians are blinding others with a feigned brilliance-of-superiority that leads to arrogance, rather than humbly lighting the path of the darkness in the world. An anecdotal phrase that has been muttered about these arrogant folk is that "they are so heavenly minded, they are no earthly good." Skill is needed to, like Jesus, achieve the balance of being heavenly minded and good enough to do God''s will on this earth.

Luke 18:9 is a good picture of spiritual arrogance. "He told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt." The Pharisee in this story was a person who was confident that he was righteous. From his righteous perch, he despised others.

Being self-confidently sure, too many have too often attempted to elevate themselves too high, and in so doing have rendered others too low. Matthew 5:10 illustrates a better way as it describes those who gain a healthy balance as "poor in spirit." This kind of poor is the same language that explained Lazaurus' plight in Luke 16:20,22.

When Christians know they are spiritually destitute, having God only as their supreme comfort, then they know true and perpetual happiness. This reality is clarified in Matthew 25:31-45. Those people in Jesus' story who thought themselves to be righteous were surprised to learn that they were numbered among the "goats." They had previously prided themselves as being "sheep." The fortunate ones who found themselves among Jesus' elect were as surprised as those who were suddenly disenfranchised; "Lord when did we do any of that?" Only from a position of humility can people experience eternal life in all of its fulfilling dimensions. "If any of you wants to be my follower," he told them, "you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me (Mark 8:34).

1 Peter 5:6 is a good prescription for the "poor-in-spirit life." "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that God may exalt you in due time." Such metamorphosis comes only from experiencing true humility, a rival of arrogance.

The New Testament translation "humility" is a derivation of a Greek word that means "not far from the ground." Jesus exemplified this position as he taught his disciples. Mt 10:24-33 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. When Jesus' disciples were jockeying for power, Jesus attempted to teach them the new way (Mark 10:43ff).

The Apostle Paul's instruction to the Church at Philippi verifies that concept. Paul encourages the church members to exemplify Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3-8).

Ultimately, Christians accomplish fulfillment of this balance by the demonstration of their commitment. A concise and revealing inventory can be easily implemented. Is love for God sought with all one's heart, and with all ones' soul, and with all one's strength, and with all one's mind; and love for neighbor as one's self (Luke 10:25ff)?

Abundant references in Christian Scripture teach the wisdom of this lifestyle.

* Abraham illustrated this understanding when he answered, "Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes (Genesis 18:27).
* with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love (Eph 4:2).
* As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience (Col 3:12).
* "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5).

Perhaps the citizens of the world are most godlike when they are guided by the knowledge of their common and humble foundation. Miraculous things occur when God''s people move away from their arrogance toward an emphasis of their common pilgrimage and kinship.

The Church profits when it offers the world a picture of harmony rather than division. Arrogance is often the culprit that inhibits an effective witness. Christians would do well to hear the words of Mary's song in Luke 1:51, "God has scattered those who are proud in their innermost thoughts." Her humble state afforded her a magnificent part in delivering the Kingdom of God to this world.

Will Bacon

Georgia Healthcare System

Helpful Materials To Read On This Subject"

* Behind the Masks: Personality Disorders in the Church
by C. Marvin Pate, Sheryl Lynn Pate/January 2000
* Connecting : Healing for Ourselves and Our Relationships
by Larry Crabb
* Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded? : Helping (Not Hurting Those With Emotional Difficulties) by Dwight L. Carlson
* Churches That Heal : Becoming a Church That Mends Broken Hearts and Restores Shattered Lives by Doug Murren
* Behind the Masks : Personality Disorders in Religious Behavior
by Wayne Edward Oates