Foolishness and Arrogance
July 26, 2006 • By Ed Wrather
But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. - 2 Timothy 2:23-26 NKJV.
There is a fact of life and that is that people sometimes will do foolish even stupid things. Here are a few examples:
Two men had an argument in Syracuse, New York over who it was that drank the last beer. One of the men ended the argument by robbing the other. He stole his cell phone, cash, and then, hit his drinking buddy over the head with a gun. Ronald Zimmerman is now facing several charges, including, first-degree robbery.
Carriel Louah is suing her parents. She showed up unexpectedly a couple of years ago at her parent’s home to surprise her mother on her birthday. Sounds like a nice thing to do, doesn’t it? But, the next morning Carriel fell on her parent’s icy driveway and broke two ankles. She is now suing her parents for $75,000 for their failure to properly maintain their drainage system.
In Jenks, Oklahoma, sadly, a 17-year-old boy has been killed during a paintball fight between two groups of young men in two vehicles. The fight does not appear to have been malicious in intent, which occurred after they left a paintball adventure park - just very tragic. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. Pete Norwood said about the accident, "I have seen a lot of horseplay over the past years, but I think this is the first time I have ever seen somebody playing paintball at 75 mph. The highway is no place to play."
Some things are obviously foolish in nature and other things may not appear to be foolish until we look at the eternal consequences. So many problems between people and within a church arise over little things and often simply because of miscommunication or misunderstanding. Those problems escalate until the real business of the church is placed on hold.
Sadly, some arguments, disputes, strife in the church, and between people outside of the church - occur not because of foolishness but because of arrogance. When we are involved in an argument or disagreement, we must be careful to consider our own position. Are you a person that has to always have your way? Are you always right and everyone else always wrong? Do you think that everyone else should always have the same view of things and opinion of things as you do? Do you think that everyone else would do well to live exactly as you live? If so, it may be that you have a problem with arrogance.
Arrogance is defined as, "an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions." Another definition defines someone who is arrogant as being, "unpleasantly proud and behaving as if you are more important than or know more than, other people." According to those definitions, Proverbs 28:25 NKJV is talking about an arrogant person when it says, "He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife."
Proverbs 13:10 NKJV also indicates that arrogance causes strife when we are told, "By pride comes nothing but strife." The apostle Paul gives a word of wisdom and warning about arrogance when he writes, "Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion (Romans 12:16 NKJV)."
A fool is defined as "a person who behaves in a silly way without thinking." Sometimes there are fools in the church who unintentionally cause disruption or strife but it is not something that they planned to do. However, someone who is arrogant is someone who thinks, considers, contemplates, plans, causes disruption, and strife through their faulty reasoning. I say faulty because they think they know better than everyone else, including God, about everything.
What are the solutions for foolishness and arrogance and therefore a solution for much of the strife that we encounter in life and in church? Proverbs 16:3 NKJV says, "Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.” Proverb 19:23a NKJV says, "The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction." We are told in Proverbs 19:20-21 NKJV, "Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days. There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand." What is the solution for foolishness and for arrogance? It is found in a life committed to the Lord, a life that is continually listening for and seeking the wisdom that only comes from God.