The concept of arrogance seems clear enough. If someone is ‘full of themselves’ or ‘uber self-focused’ then they are arrogant, right? I’m certainly not suggesting that blatant arrogance is anything other than… blatant arrogance. However, I have been extremely stirred lately on the topic of humility and the different forms humility takes. While I certainly think pride is a vicious monster alive and well in our society, I also believe there are moments where extreme humility could be viewed as arrogance if simply taken at face value.
In Numbers 12, Moses, the author of the book of Numbers, writes that ‘Moses was more humble than anyone on the face of the earth.’ Moses wrote that about himself! For most of us, when we hear someone openly declare their amazing humility, they are instantly placed in the category of super arrogant. After all, isn’t it impossible to be ‘humble and proud of it’?! However, wouldn’t it take an immense amount of humility to state something about yourself, that is absolutely true, but opens you up to ridicule and scorn? In truth, is there anything more humble than offering yourself up publicly to being misunderstood? I have never met a person that enjoys being misunderstood or being wrongly perceived. Is it possible that it takes humility to know you may be seen as arrogant and yet still move forward?
Why do I even take the time to present the thought? Because, I struggle with these concepts. You have no idea how difficult it is for me to even tell people I’ve written a blog today because I don’t want to be seen as self-promoting. But, with this desire to avoid self-promotion, have I hidden my light under a bowl so as not to ‘shine too brightly’ and thus bring attention to myself? Which is more arrogant: to deliberately mute potential effectiveness so I don’t appear arrogant; or to simply let my light shine in every place and time I have the opportunity and possibly be accused of being arrogant? Which is more arrogant, to ask for an opportunity to use the gift God gave me or to sit back and wait for a personal invitation from people that may never even know I have something to offer? Maybe I’m just not quite humble enough to let myself ‘appear’ as arrogant.
It is entirely possible that I am the only person in the world that has ever struggled with these ideas. However, even if we haven’t wrestled with these ideas in ourselves, it may be helpful when we observe the behavior of others. Perhaps the person you see as arrogant has labored in themselves to get to a place where they do not share the same fear of man that you do? I’m not saying that is the case. Maybe they are just arrogant! I am saying that it is worth considering before coming to a conclusion. The Bible is clear, ‘Let another man’s lips praise you and not your own.’ There’s no debate there. However, offering what you have is not ‘praising yourself’ unless you let it become that.
Today, let the Lord break the fear of man off of you. You determine to be who God made you to be and offer what He gave you to offer. Do it in love. Do it with humility. But do it. You might be misunderstood in the process but that may be your cross to bear. Fear the day you stand before the Lord and He asks you what you did with he gifts He gave you more than you fear the people that may accuse you of using those gifts to appear more important. It’s all about perspective. Selah.
Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 2 “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this. 3 (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) – Numbers 12:1-3 NIV
Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips. -Proverbs 27:2
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