03 April 2016

Practice Humility, Not Haughtiness

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.-Proverbs 16:18

If someone is described as haughty, it means that they are arrogantly proud and in ways feel superior to others. The Bible warns against treating others with haughtiness and arrogance, but too often Christians do. In light of God's graciousness toward us, we should be amongst the most humble and loving people, but we are not. We look down upon nonbelievers who don't really understand the way the world works. We also feel smugly superior to other believers who don't understand the depths and the nuances of the faith quite like we do. I recently scanned a couple of articles criticizing a popular Christian movie that was recently released. One was titled "I'm a Christian and I hate Christian movies."

In some ways, I understand the sentiment. The longer I am a Christian, the more I desire to see beauty expressed artistically, including through movies. Christian fiction often lacks grit, is too black and white, and is subpar entertainment. I am glad for conversations that explore truth through various fields, not the least of which is art. I am glad for conversations that explore the redemptive themes of "secular" movies, books, and music.

However, as believers, I think we need to be thoughtful, humble, and cautious about how we respond to how other believers who do things differently than we do. When we look down our noses at other believers, it has the potential of showing the non-believing world that we are much more interested in squabbling than in loving other-centeredness.

1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks, but to do so with gentleness and respect. Haughtiness towards others--believers or not--lacks gentleness and respect. We need to think humbly and lovingly about how to discuss these concerns when they arise. Christ told his disciples that the world has the right to judge Christians based upon how we love one another (see Francis Schaeffer's Mark of the Christian).

So when you differ, make sure to check your pride at the door.

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