The Decay of Arrogance

Arrogance. Bad, is it not? I believe we can all agree that that which the media has drawn as arrogant is, in fact that, and a very unbecoming quality to have. It may look like a boss that thinks himself infallible; giving orders, taking no feedback and taking offense when questioned then proceeding to put others so that his pedestal grows. Generally, this man is undesirable as company. But this is way too obvious. It is clear enough that this type of arrogance is sin, but even non-Christians dislike this apparent wrong doing. I believe Satan prefers a different type of arrogance. With the arrogance I formerly described, Satan (if I believed he was around) would be hard pressed to inspire any more evil at all; no, he would need something subtle. He would need arrogance that convinces those around it that it is humble.

All this, I see in every day life, like most sin. It exists in broad day light, it passes us on the street, it is our friends, our family, and most likely ourselves. We have been fed this "Media Description" of arrogance and our society praises us for not being that difficult of a person. We praise and applaud ourselves and say, "Well done, good and faithful me". That's messed up. How is it that we can assume we are not actually arrogant or have fallen into any other sin for that matter. We look at the blatant and extreme examples of sin and say, "Well I am not that so I must not have a problem with it." And then it becomes a point of pride which turns into straight up arrogance. Suddenly, we are preaching to the arrogant that we will take the moral high road. It cancels itself out. It is reminding your late friend that you waited patiently. No you did not. If you did wait patiently you would not have need to tell them.

But with arrogance it looks like a grass roots Christianity. It goes to a non-denominational church. It preaches Sola Scriptura. It does not use theology and believes it is not necessary to salvation. It preaches saved grace, through faith. All these things are well and good. In fact, I do these things. But the pitfall is comparing oneself to those who may hold a different position. It is so clear to them that they have chosen the correct position that the pleasure of the decision turns into pride. And then they are no better than the theologians who are obviously arrogant. As if they are a better Christian because they hold the right position. I have seen it both ways: A simple thinker a better Christian than a hard thinker, and hard thinker a better Christian than the simple. "I am not arrogant like that.", says he. "Well then in what way are you arrogant?", says the Saint. Make the effort to discover something terrible about yourself everyday; and let us not consider ourselves on the moral high ground for it. It is merely what we ought to do.

But another thing. Arrogance has become an under-appreciated way of thinking. A man tells you that you are wrong. Do you call him arrogant? Perhaps. How do we know? look at his heart. Does he still love you? Does it matter to him that you are wrong? Did his head grow? If not, he is not arrogant. He can say these things with all the tone of arrogance he wants, if he is still humble before God and His unknowable, unfathomable creation it matters not. He thinks he is right, but like Solomon he knows he cannot absolutely prove it. He knows the size of his brain is quite small. Making these educated guesses about big things is his hobby, not his pride. This we need more of. Men challenging other men with that contract of Christian arrogance that says, "This really does not matter to me, but here goes anyway, because I am having a good time."


An Imploring Limerick

There once was a boy named Creed,
For whom poetry had one lead;
Insulting a friend,
Was all he could lend,
Considered no less a misdeed.

By Evan Gunn Wilson