This week on the love channel, the talk is on love is not arrogant. But first, check out this picture from our family outing to the Fort Worth Zoo.
What is it? Nothing, really except for an empty otter tank. While I could see this little guy running around…
From the kids vantage point, they saw nothing–that is, until I picked them up and brought them up to my eye level. Coming into this week’s lesson on love, I felt like my kids. I had nothing on arrogance. I didn’t see how it played into relationships and love, especially since I wasn’t arrogant (ha!). Fortunately, over the course of this past week, my good Father saw fit to pick me up to His eye level for some much-needed schooling on arrogance.
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:4-8 NASB)
I was pretty certain of the definition of arrogance because I’d seen it many times in other people. But just to make sure, I checked the dictionary:
- Exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one’s own worth, importance, merit, ability, accomplishments, etc., often by an overbearing manner
- Showing an offensive attitude of superiority : proceeding from or characterized by arrogance
- After reading these definitions, I was even more certain that this topic didn’t apply to me.
Arrogance is easily detected by those who are observing it in others, yet it is hardly noticed by those who are themselves arrogant. –The Romantic Vineyard
However, upon further digging, not only did I find this topic applied to me, but I’d been guilty of arrogance more times than I cared to count in all kinds of relationships. It was a stinging and unexpected revelation.
How can you be arrogant in relationships?
I’ll be frank and tell you that at the center of arrogance is a prideful heart; and pride is the direct counter to love. So, unless you have no desire to love anyone, you have to confront arrogance straight on. Thanks to this great message on ‘love is not arrogant‘ I found on the Internet, I learned there are a number of ways we exhibit arrogance, such as through our:
- Talents and abilities. Comparing gifts and measuring people’s importance based on what gifts they possess.
- Intellect and knowledge. Thinking any less of a person should they not seem as intelligent or brainy or bright or sharp as we think ourselves to be. Thinking of people in terms of being ’idiots’, ’morons’ and ’retards’. Refusing to receive reproof supported by God’s Word.
- Physical beauty and athleticism. Measuring the worth of others and determining how we will treat others on such a superficial basis.
- Material wealth. Looking down on the have nots. Showing favoritism and deference towards the wealthy.
- Power and prestige. Thinking of ourselves as more important, more special and others as less so after attaining a position of power and prominence.
- Spiritual qualities and accomplishments. Looking down on others who have not reached the same level of spiritual growth and maturity. Boasting about spiritual accomplishments and bragging about all good deeds.
How do we get over ourselves?
The main remedy for arrogance is realizing that we are who we are and we are where we are, but by the grace of God alone. In a country that prizes rags to riches tales and pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, that can be hard; but we only need to measure ourselves against God to see how short we really fall. Our tendency should always be to give God the credit for every success, every dollar, every opportunity, etc. we’ve received.
We have to continuously search our hearts and minds for any inkling of arrogance (particularly the mind given that arrogant thoughts and attitudes aren’t always verbalized) and have a willing heart to fess up to it and do something different. And most importantly, getting over ourselves and not thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought requires a genuine dependence on God.
Put it to action
Give yourself an honest assessment of where you stand on the arrogance scale. If you’re not 100% humble, 100% of the time, realize you have room to grow. Seek ideas on where you need to change during your prayer time this week. If you’re not praying on a regular basis, make this your week to start.