The line between confidence and arrogance is very thin, and a gentleman is aware of it. – Unknown
As the story goes, it seems that these four ministers had a series of theological arguments, and three were always in accord against the fourth. One day, the odd pastor out, after the usual “3 to 1, majority rules” statement that signified that he had lost again, decided to appeal to a higher authority.
“Oh, Lord!” he cried. “I know in my heart that I am right and they are wrong! Will you please give me a sign to prove it to them?”
It was a gorgeous, sunny day. Yet just as soon as the minister finished his prayer, a storm cloud moved across the sky above the four. It rumbled once and dissolved. “Uh-hunh! See there? A sign from God! I’m right, I knew it!” But the other three disagreed, pointing out that storm clouds form on hot days.
So the pastor prayed again: “Oh, God, I need a bigger sign to show that I am right and they are wrong. YOU know how they’re forever ganging up on me–and this time I know I’m right! So please, Lord, a bigger sign!”
Instantly, four storm clouds appeared, rushed toward each other to form one huge cloud, and a bolt of lightning crackled, slamming into a tree on a nearby hill.
“You guys SEE that? I told you I was right!” cried the minister, but his friends insisted that nothing had happened that could not be explained by natural causes.
The frustrated pastor was getting ready to ask for a God-sized sign, but just as he said, “Oh God…,” the sky turned pitch black, the earth shook, and a deep, booming voice loud enough to resonate across the solar system intoned, “HEEEEEEEE’S RIIIIIIIGHT!”
The four pastors stood there for a minute, mouths open, trying to regain their hearing. Finally, the triumphant minister turned to the other three who were standing there, eyebrows arched, eyes wide, forcing their mouths wide open to pop their ears. He put his hands on his hips and said, “Well?”
“So,” shrugged one of the other pastors, “now it’s 3 to 2.”
You’ve encountered arrogance so fine, so well-fed that it’s amoral, aspiritual. Nothing creates the smallest uptick on the flatline. That soul has long since been sold. Remorse and mercy? Unknown. They no longer have any meaning. The eyes, which are the soul’s windows, are as opaque and blank as pennies.
Once more: The line between confidence and arrogance is very thin, and a gentleman – and a lady – is aware of it.
Paul: “Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying the truth plain and simple. Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they’re not backed by a godly life, they accumulate poison in the soul.” (2 Timothy 2:14-17)
2nd Cup friend, my father-in-law used to tell me often that the time’s coming that will separate the men from the boys.
We’re there. Church, be reminded: God is not confused about who He is, and the Scriptures say that He knows those who are His. Throughout Earth’s history, God’s seen this all before; it’s nothing new. Those in and out of the Church who would rather get their own way than get to Heaven are no recent phenomenon. Love them as Christ does, and do your best to leave them in God’s hands.
Christian brother or sister, it takes two to argue – and even if you’re right, it’s still an argument, which is defined as “a spirited discussion in which neither side is listening to the other any longer.” There is a way to respectfully present your thoughts and opinions; yet before you take a stand, be sure it’s for Christ and His values in the situation, not your own private preferences. Once you’re clear on Whose values you’re defending, do so fearlessly. Succeeding generations who are largely ignorant of Biblical truth need to hear your steady witness and observe your strong service for your King.
Truth does not change according to the listener’s ability to stomach it. In those who refuse to hear it, there is only irritation and rage at the one revealing it. Be prepared.
The only association you’d better rely on is that between you and Jesus. The other human kind only seem to create more trouble. And the longer in duration they are, the more likely trouble will arise. “They’re my friends and I haven’t known you very long. Therefore, they’re right and you are suspect.” History, in and out of the Church, has proven that to be wrong far too often for us to keep buying into it.
God gave you a good mind. Be using it.
Be strong and of good courage.
I love you and I believe in you.
© D. Dean Boone, September 2015