The subtlety of arrogance
Pride is such a subtle sin. It’s opoposite, humility, is impossible to fully master, for just when we believe we are humble, pride sneaks in and conquers us again. Of course, the underlying thought of pride is “I am better than you”. It carries with it a certain kind of prejudice. This prejudice wears many faces and pours over into looking down on someone because of appearance, financial status, race, education, manner of speech, faith or lack thereof, denominational affiliation, and any other number of reasons.
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day looked down on Jews who did not follow their traditions, and they had a special disdain for Gentiles because they were not Jews. They were proud and arrogant, convinced that they were the only ones who had it right. Even Jesus, the Son of God, did not measure up to their standards.
I wonder how often as Christians we do the same today? I’m not suggesting that we throw discernment to the wind and accept every new thought that comes along. We need to examine the Scriptures and hold every teaching to the light of God’s truth.
But no Christian and no church should ever think that they are the only ones that understands and interprets all Scripture accurately. Christians need to guard their hearts against the arrogance that often comes with knowledge. Rather than humbling us, the more we know, the more we are in danger of that subtle arrogance. Why? Because at the root of arrogance is the thought that we know it all and that we are right.
I Corinthians 8:2-3 says, “And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.”
Love humbles itself in the sight of God and does not think more highly of itself than it ought to think. A person controlled by the love of God allows for the possibility that they don’t know everything and that they can learn from other people.
I Corinthians 13:2 says, “And though I…understand all mysteries and all knowledge, but have not love, I am nothing.”
Perhaps the best way to guard against the subtlety of arrogance is to focus first on Love.