Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What is Arrogance?

Do you think people who confident of their faith in Jesus Christ are arrogant? Have you been called arrogant because of your faith in Jesus Christ? If so then read on and decide for yourself who is arrogant.

I recently witnessed a two-sided conversation that started out with a person who said that Susan B. Anthony distrusted people who know so well what God wants them to do, because it always coincides with their own desires.

The second person responds that the statement is rather offensive to those who actually believe that God directs their path.

The first person says that feeling and believing that personally is one thing. He then adds that when a person claims his God is ordering the path of others, it is the height of arrogance as well as other adjectives. The other adjectives were not expressed but conjure up the worst.

That effectively ended the conversation and left the second person realizing that some people are so anti-God that any expression of faith will be called arrogance or worse.

I would like to note that Susan B. Anthony’s quote is in keeping with the same debate style as the first person. She used the word always to describe a behavior, which by her distrust, puts it in a negative light. Always is an all-encompassing word that should not be used instead of generalizations. That means that Ms. Anthony had never seen anyone like William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, who knew what God wanted him to do and did it. It has resulted an immense benefit for thousands if not millions of people. She had never seen a person of faith give up everything he had ever wanted to serve others in his own or other countries. The second person may have understood this and therefore correctly assumed that Ms. Anthony distrusted all Christians who have a good understanding of God’s will as expressed in the Bible.

The first person then rebuts the second and brings up his own issue with people of faith that has nothing to do with Susan B. Anthony’s quote or the second person’s comment. It is as if the first person is lashing out to make sure that any statement of faith will be duly suppressed in his presence.

Using the dictionary definition of arrogant, an arrogant person is one who is proudly contemptuous, i.e. feeling, or showing self-importance and contempt or disregard for others. I would ask you, which person above is showing arrogance?

I have personally been called arrogant for my faith. The first time was when I expressed that I knew for sure that I was going to heaven. I was told that it was arrogant for a person to presume to know something that no one can know.

To be arrogant about going to heaven, I would first have to be proud about it. Pride in getting into heaven can only come if I were able to do something that would earn my right to get there. Unfortunately for many, the Bible is clear that heaven can’t be attained by doing a bunch of good things (Eph 2:8-9). It can’t be earned by sacrificing animals or myself (Ps 49:7). It can’t be attained by belonging to the right church or the right family (Matt 3:9). I could be the very best person in the world and still not be good enough to stand before God and expect Him to let me into His presence based on any of these things. The Bible is very clear about that.

Instead the Bible is clear that the only way I can get into heaven is by faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death on my behalf (John 14:6, Rom 3:21-26,  5:17, 21, 1 Cor 1:30, Phil 1:11). There is no room for pride or self-importance in that. It means that I have to recognize my sinfulness and a need for Jesus to pay the penalty for that sin since I can’t do it myself. Again, the Bible is clear on this as well.

Finally, I can know that I will go to heaven because that is what the Bible tells me when I believe on the name of Jesus Christ (1 John 5:13). My confidence in knowing this is not based upon me but on what God has said.

Who is arrogant? Is it Is it the one who presumes to know how God works without knowing what He has said in the Bible or is it the one who has studied the Bible and believes what it says? Is it the one who presumes that people with faith in God can’t know what God wants or is it the ones who have determined that God wants people to place their trust in Jesus and have done that?

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