Balancing humility and appropriate pride to combat arrogance
We have all seen arrogance. Sometimes it comes across as ultimate confidence and a sense of indestructibility and we might admire it. Sometimes it comes across as a cocky, self-absorbed perspective and we are appalled by it. The point is, whether we are looking at someone in their self-proclaimed loftiness in a positive or a negative way, we are still seeing an ego gone awry. Having addressed what we see in others, we now need to look in the mirror. Are we, in our blessed positions of Christian faith, arrogant because we believe that we have the truth of God’s word? Be careful with this answer, because in some ways it might be a trick question! Is there a difference between arrogance and confidence, personal pride and being pompous?
Let's being with our fundamental question - should a Christian ever have pride? The surprising answer is yes – and that obviously needs an explanation. In most cases when "pride" is mentioned in the Bible, the original Hebrew or Greek words mean "arrogance," "majesty," "conceit" or "bragging." These things bring out an image of one who is over the top all about themselves. No Christian in their right mind would ever see this as a way to present themselves to the world around them - much less to God. So, what about pride in a job well done or satisfaction in the progression of a task or treasuring the accomplishments of another? These things are appropriate, as they are contrary to the biblical meanings we just discussed.
The key to all of this is ego. Is what I am elevating a direct boost to my perception of how others should laud me and my influence? Or is what I am elevating something that others can appreciate and be inspired by? This is harder to answer than it might seem. If I have done a good thing in the sight of many, what are those who observe taking away from the experience? They see me as having succeeded in a great thing. Am I trying to fill them with awe towards me because I am so incredibly talented and accomplished? Or am I showing them the value of hard work and discipline when faced with a daunting but important task? These questions help us to drill down to discover the foundation of our actions.
Check out our May 27, 2019 podcast, “Am I an Arrogant Christian?” for answers. We talk about what provokes arrogance and give several amazing biblical examples. Each example has a remedy built into it. We look at the absolute need for leadership and examine the potential pitfalls that can arise for both leader and followers. We also delve into the most insidious kind of arrogant behavior. In many ways this behavior is shocking because it is not usually anticipated. We look at how it works, uncover the surprising ways it manifests itself and kind of people it affects. Understanding how pride gets out of hand and how it damages all is the first step to avoiding its consequences.
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