Monthly Archives: August 2012

Love is not arrogant

When you think of arrogance, you might think of someone who boasts. There is overlap between the characteristics of Love that Paul mentions.  It isn’t that you can’t find differences between the words and meanings but sometimes they just belong together.

For example, an arrogant person is one that doesn’t just think highly of himself but one who thinks that others are beneath him. It is never fun to encounter such a person.  One of Jesus’ parables was told because the Jewish leaders held others in contempt. Not surprising, the subject of his parable was someone who boasted.

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’  (Luk 18:9-12)

The pharisee of the story was one who relied so much on his actions, considered his actions so righteous, thought so much of himself, that he was able to compare himself to the sinful tax collector as an example to God of how much more righteous he was. God should be honored to have this Pharisee’s service.

Paul warned the Gentile Christians not to get to “uppity” either. Using the metaphor of an olive tree, Paul says that the Gentiles, as wild olive branches, were grafted into the good tree and the unbelieving Jews were pruned out. He warns that God is not only able to put the Jewish branches back in but able to remove the Gentile branches as well! (Romans 11:20) “Do not become proud, but fear.”

Love does not allow for arrogance and as you might expect the leaders in the church, mature Christians, are not to be those who show arrogance.

For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, (Tit 1:7)

It is not surprising that when you think of the opposite of arrogance, or boasting, or rudeness, that the one word most likely to come to mind is “humble”. It is the humble one that God accepts, it is the humble one that God exalts, it is the humble one that will be justified. Even as the tax collector in the above parable:

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Luk 18:13-14)

Question: What are some ways that we can be more humble?

Photo credit: Nina Matthews



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