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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Inverted Arrogance

In Romans 12 Paul writes, "I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment." Now, I am one of those who tends to think less highly of himself than he ought. Those who know me know that my tendency is to denigrate myself. I'm typically ugly, stupid, incompetent, and basically useless. Lies, of course, all lies, but that's the kind of stuff I tell myself ... far too often. And I've always applied Paul's statement above not from the "more highly than you ought" perspective, but the "sound judgment" approach. I figured out the other day that I was wrong.

Consider this. I am what God has made me. I have skills, abilities, tendencies, predilections, and all that were handed to me by God. He didn't skimp on that stuff. Before I was born He laid out the design and made me to be what He wanted me to be, shortcomings, strengths, and all. Now me, in my wise and thoughtful arrogance, have decided that God sold me short. He didn't do a very good job. I should have been _____-er (fill in the blank) and I'm not. I'm not smart enough, not competent enough, not good enough. Basically, I'm telling God that He really messed up when He made this sack of skin because He made something without a lot of use. Nice try, God. Fail!

On the surface, then, I am self-effacing, even, some might say, humble. Underneath, though, I'm passing judgment on God's design ... and I find Him wanting. I have inverted my arrogance, cloaked it in false humility, and made it sound more pious. My emperor -- the god of my own poor self-image -- has no clothes.

Now, I know lots of people who suffer from an ego. They suffer from thinking more highly of themselves than they ought. And Paul was speaking to them. But I'm pretty sure that I'm not alone in my end of the problem. I'm reasonably confident that some of you have these same feelings of inadequacy, this same sense of "not enough". I would encourage you to reconsider. God made you. He made you with the abilities and talents that you need. If you didn't come into this world with them, He has built them in. If you don't have them now, He is working on it. But at no time has He failed. For you to think otherwise is inverted arrogance, or, to be more clear, genuine arrogance. You and me, we ought to reconsider that position. Shaking our fists in the face of God reprimanding Him for His failure in our design isn't the wisest position to take. Perhaps repentance is needed. Perhaps often.

4 comments:

starflyer said...

No, you're not alone in this end of the problem...

Stan said...

"Perhaps repentance is needed. Perhaps often." At least ... I know it is for me.

Gina Burgess said...

Been there. I was just talking about that the other day, too. Amazing how great minds... LOL

Stan said...

"Been there" suggests you beat it. What's your secret?