Sunday, May 3, 2009

It Takes One To Know One

I heard this when I was a kid. When I called my sister a "pig" she would abruptly inform me: "It takes one to know one."

We all know and say that all sin is evil in God's eyes and no sin is better or worse than other sins. Still, some sins bother us more than others. A preacher can snap and in anger insult his ministry staff. Later he apologizes and is forgiven. But if that same preacher commits adultery with the deacon's college-aged daughter--he is fired. (We'll save this dicussion for another post, someday.)

Similar to pet-peeves regarding sin, there are certain kinds of character flaws I see in people that bother me more than others. When I see someone doing certain things or displaying a certain attitude it disturbs me more than other things that I might find more "forgiveable." Namely--arrogance and pride.

There is nothing I loathe more than arrogance. The problem is that I seem to run into it everywhere. Arrogance is the attitude of "I'm better than you." It is the opposite of what Paul commanded us to do in considering others better than ourselves. That would be humility. But humility seems hard to find.

I keep running into people who think they are better than me. No one considers me better than them. How arrogant of them! They should know I'm better than they are. They should treat me better! They should be praising me a lot more and seeing my value. They should ask me for my opinions instead of telling me theirs. How arrogant!

Oops. You see what I just did? I projected my own arrogance. Why do I think I recognize arrogance in other people so well? It takes one to know one. I recognize arrogance because I desire humility in others more than I desire it in myself.


  1. Isn't it usually the things that I dislike in others are usually the things that the Lord and I need to work on in me?

  2. Yup. Especially for things that make us the "center." If I am the center of attention, then you are not. If you are the center of attention, then I am not. I want to require you to give me attention rather than me giving you attention.

    I love humility (sounds good so far) because I want you to be humble and admit I'm better than you. My pride makes me love your humility. It also makes me hate your arrogance. If you are arrogant, then you are "stealing" praise that could otherwise be mine.

    It is the whole trap of getting caught up in worrying about what others think and say about us, and worrying about how we're regarded in their eyes.

    I think Paul teaches us in Philippians to worry about how we regard others, not how we're regarded.

  3. "My pride makes me love your humility. It also makes me hate your arrogance." That's almost circular ---- I need to think on that a while. Am I not being proud of my humility when I don't worry about what others think of me as long as I am the one who thinks well of others? I know that I am still too proud and many circumstances that the Lord allows to happen to me are designed to teach me humility. I'm not the quickest of students but HE is patient!

  4. "Am I not being proud of my humility when I don't worry about what others think of me as long as I am the one who thinks well of others?"

    I don't think so. If you're not worried what others think of you then you are probably not being prideful unless you are shooting for the effect of them being impressed with you because they think you're someone who doesn't worry about what others think. Or, unless you're pride is in your own heart that you become self-righteous and look down on others because they worry about what other people think, unlike yourself who has it right. If your humility leads you to think you're better than someone else, then it is not true humility. Whew!

    We all struggle with pride. I do big time. I don't think the struggle will go away. It helps, I believe, to look at Christ and not our own selves. Humility is not thinking about ourselves in a low fashion as oppossed to thinking about ourselves in a high fashion; humility is not thinking about ourselves at all.