I once knew a man who thought he knew it all. As is the case with most people like this, the man in due time found out he actually knew very little. What brings a man from the pinnacle of self confidence to the depths of humbleness? The answer lies in the intricacies of life and how life tends to beat most people down and in the process and drive them off the mountain top into the valley of realism and humility.
Arrogance, narcissism and the belief that one is better and smarter than everyone else form a package that produces people who are looked upon as leaders in their particular field of endeavor. Politicians must project an aura of superiority or no one will listen to them. Lawyers, doctors, CEOs and other professionals are usually overflowing with this pseudo self confidence and become larger than life to the common people that have contact with them.
Are their humble doctors and lawyers? Of course there are. But, there are many who have no idea what humility means and have no use for it in their careers or practices. Unfortunately, with arrogance and narcissism, usually comes dominance and intimidation. The elite sit at the top of most positions of power and influence and come to view themselves as indispensible within society. The unfortunate reality is that men and women who think and act this way are the most dispensable people on earth.
I worked briefly with a man ten years ago while doing charity work in Mississippi and Alabama. I was fooled by his apparent zeal for helping others and for a very short season he and I worked as a team. But, when I was forced to work side by side with this person for a week; it became plainly apparent that he was doing what he was doing for self glory and to be liked and admired by all. At the end of the week I tried talking to the man to no avail. He was set in his ways and valued the pseudo position he had invented more than the joy of working together with others doing the same thing.
I talked on the phone to this person a few times in the months and years after our falling out , but for the most part, there was no profit in having any communication whatsoever. A few years ago I found out the man committed suicide. All I could think of was how this man wasted his God given talents because he could not overcome his need to be in the limelight and his stubborn belief that he was always right in everything. Pride cometh before a fall, and great is that fall indeed.
Anytime we have the opportunity to help someone else, it should always be viewed as a privilege and NEVER used as an opportunity to advance one's personal agenda or self. It deeply bothers me that so many heads of various charities divert so much money to meet their personal needs at the expense of helping others. It deeply bothers me when I see the same narcissism and arrogance in Christian leaders as I see in the world. We are supposed to be bigger than that.
The unfortunate reality of all this is that most men and women who finally wake up and see the arrogance and narcissism that has crept into their lives, fall on their sword or drop out of society all together. What a waste of God's talent and ability. How much better it would be to simply humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, repent of what was done and move on to do things right. But, of course, this would take a very strong and deeply humble man or woman to do this, and there are not too many of these people around.
Thanks Kirk for sharing your thoughts on arrogance and narcissism!
I always say that I don't know it all, but I know One Who knows it all and that is the Lord.
Labeling is the key here, as it is said curse be the man upon the poll! Meaning to be made a spectacular of. No doubt that many have their own perception of others, good or bad the Lord only knows. The biggest concern here is the length that many are willing to go in order to be excepted by others. Perhaps having the ability to handle things and have a answer might be considered arrogance to many. But it was said to always be ready to give an answer to them who may ask you.
Be blessed forever
On Sunday one of my pastors mentioned two well-known men in his message. They have both held very powerful positions and are known globally and both are involved in charitable organizations. The administrative costs of the charity the first man is involved with is at about 5%. Unfortunately the reverse is true in regards to the second man. A high percentage of the funds never reaches the people it is supposed to help.
I think people can genuinely start out having the best of intents but it is very easy for pride to gain a foothold and bring everything down. We need to be ever mindful of that. I believe the best cure/prevention for pride is to develop and cultivate the heart of a servant. In other words, genuinely serve. Get up out of that "executive chair". Go "mop some floors", "wait on some tables", "clean some toilets" and "wash some feet".
Hmmm...often time we see what is on the cover of an individual and because we don't really know them or get to know them, we assume that pride simply runs blindly for the sake of self admiration. The next time I would encourage that extra time be spent getting to know the individual and how they arrived at the time of life they are now in. What influences are in there past and how have they driven or pushed them in directions they neither see nor understand. Oh, I'm not making excuses for sin in any way, but be cautious when we assume that pride was nurtured in the full awareness of the individual that wields it. On a side note, I have learned much late in life about being a passive aggressive person and until the blinders were removed I knew neither how my past, present, and future was, is and can be. Loving them can be hard, but still good.
Great piece and I am sure it will be a blessing to others as well,