Arrogance with Others
18 Pride precedes a disaster, and an arrogant attitude precedes a fall.
19 Better to be humble with lowly people than to share stolen goods with arrogant people.
Prov 16:18-19 (GW)
Our attitude toward others and the company we keep sometimes determines what happens to us. Proverbs says that an arrogant attitude precedes a fall and that it is better to be humble with lowly people than to “share stolen goods” with arrogant people.
What does it mean to share stolen goods with arrogant people? The first thing I notice is stolen goods implies that we have possession of something that is not ours. It seems that an attitude of arrogance carries with it the idea that no one owns that right. Arrogance is an over-inflated view of our self-importance as my husband would say. We are not all that we imagine ourselves to be.
Thinking that we have all the knowledge, or all the right theology, and hang with all the right people is foolish. While we certainly hold to our own opinions, it is not right to think that our minds are incapable of learning more or changing. We are very much capable of fooling ourselves into thinking that we have total truth in our understanding. Despite many degrees, I am aware that I know very little; I am always seeking to know God more.
My arrogance is a sign of my foolishness. I can never plumb the riches of God’s Word to such an extent that I can say without a doubt that my interpretation of that word is the end-all-be-all meaning. I have known people who get quite angry when their idea of what God’s Word means is all there is to know. They are not open to having God grow them.
Another thing that happens in sharing stolen goods is we tend to share them with like-minded thinkers. People whose arrogance is built on fear must protect it that way. Only hanging out with people who agree with us, or claiming that people who disagree with us are automatically arrogant heretics, is a sign that the arrogance may not be with the other guy….it might be with me.
As you attempt to understand God’s Word, keep in mind that there is a lot that you haven’t learned. Church can’t teach you everything. Be aware of the history of your beliefs, don’t be afraid of God breaking into your current opinion and shaking it up a bit. Be humble, know that God is God, and that being open to other ideas does not mean you will be brainwashed.
An arrogance of heart that leads to isolation and paranoia is not good. Be open on the God-ward side with the humble awareness that God is not finished with you yet, and in the interim, you just might make a few new friends.
Meditation: Sit with God for 20 minutes in silence. Listen to the ideas He places in your heart. Read the passages above and see if there are any new insights.
Talk to someone you don’t know. Ask them questions about them. See if they say anything that piques your interest. Investigate those ideas.
Read a few articles on the history of Christianity. Keep a journal on what you learn. Follow up on the ideas you are not aware of.
Take a few doctrines that you are sure of, like the Trinity. Look up the history of how those doctrines were decided. Ask yourself how they took hold in the Christian Church. If you learned anything new, investigate.