Summary: This is an in-depth look at how pride is contrary to truly loving God and our neighbor. We examine how pride is often manifested in our lives.
Arrogance or pride (which often leads to bragging) cannot co-exist with love. Arrogance is having or showing an exaggerated opinion of one’s own importance, merit, ability, accomplishments, etc. It is being conceited. It leads to having and demonstrating contempt for others.
Jesus stated that the two most important commandments is to fully love the Lord and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. Arrogance scoffs at, yea, repudiates those commandments.
1. Arrogance Vs. Love of God
True love for the Lord consists of a desire to please Him. 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” When our obedience is motivated by love, John says we will not view the Lord’s commandments as being a heavy burden but as a pleasure.
Arrogance, on the other hand, oft times says, ‘No one is going to tell me what to do! No one is going to tell me how to run my life!’ Thus, it is arrogance that leads one to reject the Lord and rebel against His Will.
Psalm 10:4, “The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him.” GNT: “The wicked do not care about the Lord; in their pride they think that God doesn’t matter.”
Job 21:14-15, "They say to God, `Depart from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Your ways. `Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, and what would we gain if we entreat Him?’
Nehemiah reflected upon the association between arrogance and the rebellion of the Israelites in their history. Nehemiah 9:16, 29, “But they, our fathers, acted arrogantly; They became stubborn and would not listen to Your commandments…Yet they acted arrogantly and did not listen to Your commandments but sinned against Your ordinances, By which if a man observes them he shall live. And they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck, and would not listen.”
No wonder one person has stated that arrogance is ‘the ultimate anti-God state of mind.’
2. Arrogance Vs. Love of Neighbor
Not only does arrogance stand in the way of loving the Lord, it prevents loving our fellow neighbor. True love is humble. Love leads us to regard and treat others with dignity and respect; recognizing that we all are created equally in the image of God. Proverbs 14:21, “He who despises (Hebrew Buwz: to despise, hold in contempt, hold as insignificant) his neighbor sins.” Thus, Paul commands, in Romans 12:3, “I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment.”
Paul hits the key in that verse - a person who is arrogant toward his neighbor is not using sound judgment. How utterly foolish we are to measure ourselves with others on the basis of things which we are not even responsible for! How can we rightly become arrogant and brag about that which we have only from God? Paul asks the same question in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”
Let us consider what we often become arrogant about and consider how foolish we can be.
A. Talents and Abilities.
Many people seem to think and act as though they alone possess any gift or talent. Or, they believe and brag that their gift or talent is more important than that of others. Such thinking ignores what is said in 1 Peter 4:10, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Every gift is “special” and is no more ‘special’ and no less ’special’ than that granted to any other. Romans 12:6, “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly.” Rather than comparing gifts and measuring people’s importance based on what gifts they possess, we are to be busy using what we have in humbly serving one another and encourage others to do the same.
B. Intellect and Knowledge.
Paul states an unfortunate truth in 1 Corinthians 8:1, “Knowledge makes arrogant.” Have you noticed that it seems that many of those who have acquired knowledge and education have a tendency to look down upon those who are less knowledgeable and less educated?
I knew a brother in the Church who was almost obsessed with getting his doctorate in college because he craved the day when he could be addressed as “doctor” so and so. He thought that his having a “Phd” would make him more important. It would elevate him above others. Sadly, there are many who feel the same way and they do so love to flaunt their knowledge and education.