Pastor Mike preached on the topic of arrogance a couple of Sundays ago, and it still has my mind reeling! Mike has been preaching a series called "A New Harmony: From Brokenness to Wholeness," his focus a couple of weeks ago was on how we divide ourselves-- as nations, races, socio-economically, power, arrogance, and sexes. If you'd like to hear Mike's message, let me know. I didn't see it on our church website yet, but the sermons are recorded, so barring a technical malfunction, I can get you a copy. Two particular passages he discussed have stuck with me in the past two weeks:
He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body* through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 16 Ephesians 2:15-16 (NRSV)
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was* in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross. 45678-- Philippians 2:3-8 (NRSV)
There were other verses, some which happen to be favorites of mine, but those two have really been on my mind and in my heart. Mike's message really got me thinking about how arrogant I can be or come off as being even when I am humble, because I am an incredibly confident person. I make informed and decisive decisions, and at times, what works for me becomes my fact in life.
Truth be told, however, it is arrogant of me to believe I can do it all and fight every "good" fight without dividing people rather than unifying. Furthermore, when I realize that I am weak, need help, and need to slow down, when I humble myself and realize that even God rested on the seventh day, I can love others better. I can live better. And I can grow in my relationship with God better. When I am arrogant about the pace of my life, I am building a wall between me and Him, and it is a lot easier to lose track of my priorities, to be arrogant, and to live a self-centered life.
Mike got me thinking about the many areas in my life where I am arrogant and could better be serving others, or in some cases where if I step back I see that Icome off as arrogant and intolerant when things are probably not as they seem. Certainly, I need to choose my words carefully and wisely. I know I am very opinionated and direct, especially in my writing. I need to try to be more empathetic and soften my words especially in disagreement.
Truly, I think this is one reason (of many) I have struggled to blog lately. I know my position and want to continue to advocate for the position, but balancing my opinion with my acceptance of those I disagree with is no easy task! Using loving words in disagreement is flat out HARD at times!
On a lighter note... I think it's time for a new contest! It's coming soon. :)