There’s a fine line between pride and arrogance.
How can you tell you’ve crossed it?
First, you need to know the difference between healthy and unhealthy pride.
Since we like to hear the bad news first, here goes. Unhealthy pride is the first thing on the list of things God hates in Proverbs 6:16-19. If the placement means anything in terms of priority, this is serious. Of course, the fact that God hates it is significant enough.
Here’s what unhealthy pride looks like. In 2 Chronicles 26, King Uzziah started off well. He was crowned king at age sixteen. He had a good pastor named Zechariah who led him to follow God. God blessed Uzziah in battle and as king. He became quite powerful.
Then Proverbs 16:18 became his reality.
Uzziah let prosperity puff him up. Zechariah had died, leaving him without godly leadership. So Uzziah decided to go to the temple and sacrifice by his own rules. Despite protests from the priests, his pride drove him on. His reward? A skin disease that lasted the rest of his life.
Arrogance blinds us to a lot of things. It keeps us from seeing that we are not islands in this world. Everything we accomplish of any significance requires help from outside ourselves. When we become arrogant, we don’t see that we need God or anyone else. We think our way is the best way. So, when we inevitably fall, we find ourselves alone to deal with our failure.
If you dig deeper, you’ll find that the root of arrogance is self-righteousness. It’s what led Satan to try to throw God off the throne in Heaven. It’s what led King Uzziah to go into the temple and sacrifice his way instead of God’s. and it’s what leads us to believe that we don’t need Jesus because we’re good enough as we are.
The alternative is humility. The best way to define it is to admit you don’t have all the answers. You need other people. You’ve screwed up. You want to know that all is right in the grand scheme of things and until it is, you’ll never have real peace.
The only way to find that is to find Jesus for yourself. He’s ready when you are.
He’ll give something you can really be proud of.