Thoughts on Christian Culture 5: Arrogance

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Image courtesy Naypong

Two faces of pride:

~ I am always right.
~I cannot believe I did something wrong.

The first response refuses to acknowledge sin.
The second one wallows in self-pity.

Either way, the focus remains on personal performance instead of the need to seek God’s forgiveness.

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What Are You Afraid Of?

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Proverbs 29:25 (ESV) The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.

Matthew 10:27-28 (ESV) What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Psalm 118:4-8 (ESV) Let those who fear the LORD say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Commentary)

Sometimes, we let fear of disapproval or the implied/open threats of others be what determines our course in life. And it’s not an imaginary struggle, as I don’t think anyone appreciates being actually ostracized, bullied or otherwise mistreated by condescending, angry or pushy acquaintances.

Other times, we can be specifically focused on actively gaining some personal advantage by pleasing the people around us.

Personally, I’ve tended to struggle with speaking my mind around others when conflict appears to be the inevitable end result.
Thus, “keeping the peace” has always been a high priority, regardless of what I think I’d rather do.
Showing respect for the non-sinful interests of others is good. However, remaining silent about a legitimate concern is a sin.

Sometimes, my motive for doing even the right things has been to feel appreciated and useful. That’s an attempt to self-medicate an unhealthy view of self-worth.

Anyway, one of the reasons this type of interaction should be considered a “snare”, is that it enslaves us to doing the will of others. That is dangerous, because

1. The moods, interests, intellectual stability, and desires of people are not static. It’s exhausting to try to figure out which tune they are playing today and how to keep in step with it.
2. Their plans for us may not be as straightforward as they appear, and may not have our best interest anywhere in sight.
3. In order to faithfully follow another individual’s preferred path, one must learn to ignore his/her own conscience before God.

By contrast, God’s plan and intention for us is always good and trustworthy. (Psalm 103:17; Isaiah 54:8, 61:8
His way is the path of love and eternal Life. (Matthew 21:27-30; John 14:6; John 6:67-69; 1 John 4:16)
He even gives us the ability to walk in the direction He instructs us to go. ( Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 28:7-8; Philippians 4:12-13; Romans 14:4)

Hebrews 13:1-6 (ESV) Let brotherly love continue.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Rage Against…Everything…

 

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Proverbs 29:22 (ESV) A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.

Proverbs 15:18 (ESV) A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

Proverbs 19:19 (ESV) A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.

James 1:19-21 (ESV) Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.


My observations:

~Lack of emotional self-control can be a very damaging thing.

~Unrestrained anger especially is warned against in scripture.
~Continually simmering anger that is difficult to contain is not a much better option than the highly-explosive sort, since it always leaves one vulnerable to overreaction to that “last straw” incident that really wasn’t all that offensive when honesty is employed.

~Impulsive reactions to things that irritate or frustrate can have far-reaching, and long-term consequences. But according to scripture, there is little good that comes of them.

~Proverbs 19:19 even indicates that a person with an angry disposition is highly unlikely to learn if he is simply instructed with patience and quickly restored after having allowed their temper to take over.

~By contrast, God’s nature is revealed as:

Psalm 145:8 (ESV) The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

He doesn’t pitch childish temper tantrums when we do things He doesn’t like.

~James instructed readers to strive to imitate these qualities instead of give in to our own rising tidal wave of rage.

•My conclusion: Some injustices should be met with anger. Evil should be stopped; and wrong should be corrected, if possible. But Christians are instructed to “be angry and sin not” (Ephesians 4:26). So it is important to be thinking clearly about why we are mad and how to respond in a way that honors God.

If I tend to have an unmanageable temper, it suggests that I either don’t know God at all or have not submitted to His earlier, more gentle forms of correction. A stubborn refusal to be turned is a very dangerous response, since it further hardens the heart and fools me into thinking I am in the right.