For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
Today I was out working on some school work and encountered the one thing no good school-working person wants to encounter… a talkative person. Don’t get me wrong, I like talking to people, but not when I am doing school work. When this person found out that I am a Christian and in a seminary he asked me to come sit by him for a few minutes to talk. Again, not words a school-working person wants to hear.
So I went and sat by him and began to listen. And listen. And listen. The only time I was allowed to speak was when I was asked a question that proved one of his points. The topic? His theological interpretations of the Bible. In that twenty minute period I learned about how: 1) the King James Version of the Bible is the best (and only) worthy interpretation, 2) the English Standard Version denies the diety of Christ, 3) the Bible (aka: KJV) indicates different roles for the Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit, 4) that Jesus was crucified on a tree, not a cross, and 5) that the other two crucified with Jesus were hung on the same tree.
As I reflect on that conversation, I am more irritated by the person’s arrogance than his poor theological conclusions.
In conversation, arrogance conveys to people that, “I am better than you and my opinion is better than your opinion.” It is usually shown in a conversation by the person showing very little concern for the other person’s point of view. An arrogant person is more concerned about telling his opinion than listening to others. When he does listen, it is mainly for the purpose of getting back to his opinions again.
Arrogance has no place in the body of Christ. Christ is the epitome of humility. After all, he was one person that WAS better than everyone else. He was God in flesh. He could heal people, out smart people, and create worlds. Yet when he walked this earth, he lived humbly. He put others’ needs over his own. He paid attention to the weak and the strong. He listened to people. And he went to a humiliating death for our sake.
Christ calls his followers to act and think in a way that is the opposite of arrogance. We are to act and think with humility and love.
Even when we may be smarter, better, or more correct than the other person, we don’t have to show it. Humility extends kindness to other people when arrogance extends selfishness. We know our place and that we would be nothing without Christ, so we do not convey that we are better than the other person.
Friends, how do you act toward the “sinners” of the church? How do you act toward “sinful groups.” Do not extend a better-than-thou attitude just because you don’t sin like them or are more spiritually mature. Christlikeness means that we extend love to all people.
I do not believe that homosexuality is permitted in Scripture, yet I am also very disturbed by some of the name calling and arrogance displayed by supposed Christians to that group of people. That is pure arrogance, and that has no place a Christian’s life.
Do not forget that you too were once a sinner. It is only because of Christ that you are what you are. And Christ calls you to treat people with respect, love, and humility.