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Mankinds Ten Worst Enemies: #2 Arrogance


According to H. G. Bosch, the newspaper cartoonist H. T. Webster once amused himself by sending telegrams to 20 of his acquaintances whom he selected at random. Each message contained just one word: "Congratulations." As far as Webster knew, not one of his friends had done anything special for which to be complimented. Yet, each person was so flattered that he immediately wrote Webster a letter of thanks. All 20 of his friends assumed they had done something worthy of a congratulatory telegram!

Surprising? I think not. Whereas pride can be defined as an excessively high opinion of oneself; arrogance is the state or quality of being overly convinced of one's own importance. From a Christian perspective, arrogance is man's inflated belief in his own abilities that interferes with his recognition of the grace of God. In other words, we cannot see God, or experience God for we are too focused on ourselves.

In a sense, arrogance is like a weed that grows amid the beautiful roses and yet, it believes itself to be far more pleasing to the eye. The arrogant person enjoys being paramount and awards himself a high degree of importance. But arrogance is deadly and an enemy to the soul. It is an outward expression of an inward flaw. A bloated ego is the most serious obstacle to submission to God. It is the enemy within that prevents us from accepting God's omnipotence and absolute authority. Consequently, it is our own arrogance that stands between us and redemption into God's kingdom.

I am reminded of Jesus' prayer for Peter. Remember, at a certain point during the Last Supper, Jesus focused His entire attention on Simon? He tells him, "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail." Luke 22:31-32a. (NIV).

This is significant because Simon had become arrogant. He had gotten beside himself; self assured and over confident. He had become boastful and big headed. He exuded an air of superiority and certainty about himself. He thought he knew who he was and what he was about. He had become conceited and no one could tell him anything.

Simon had soared to great heights. He was the chief spokesman for the twelve, water walker, rock man, one of Jesus' inner circle, and prominent figure at the transfiguration. To himself, he was somebody. Simon was so inculcated with a sense of his own special importance that he even went so far as to assume he knew more about Jesus' mission than Jesus Himself.

This is why prayer is so important to the Christian life. We need prayer to overcome Satan. Satan got a hold of Simon and carried him on a hurricane ride through hell. He poisoned Simon's spirit and confused his mind and made him betray the most important person ever to come into his life.

Arrogance is one of many tools used by Satan. If we are not careful, he will use this tool to wreck our system of values, paralyze our spirit and ruin our capacity to reason. He can dull our conscience and transform our home from a place of peace and love to a wasteland of disturbance and discord. And, sometimes, for our own good God has to let Satan shake us and sift us for a time.

So whoever you are, regardless of how high you think you may be escalating spiritually, watch out, be cautious, don't indulge the enemy, and pray for humility. While you are climbing Jacob's ladder to spiritual heights, watch your footing. Because I have learned that even the roads to spiritual heights are paved with ice.

SIDEBAR NOTE: Winston Churchill once had a very arrogant cabinet member. When this person left the room one day, Churchill turned to the rest of his cabinet and said, "There, but for the grace of God goes God!"

Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, veteran social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach which can be reviewed on her site. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, is expected to be available soon.

You are welcome to visit AMEN Ministries: Your Soul's Service Station for spiritual refreshing, soul edification, browse our newly expanded Stop & Shop Mini Mall or review our recommended books you may want to add to your personal library.

Blessings to all!


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