Smug or Humble?

humbleI think I finally know why this year’s presidential election was so difficult to bear for so many people.  Regardless of who you voted for or how you feel about each party’s candidate, I believe there’s one overriding trait that made this election distasteful:

Arrogance….(the display of an overbearing superiority or self-importance in a rude or offensive way.)

Ask any democrat what their problem with Donald Trump was and they will likely cite his arrogant attitude.  They will probably point out, correctly I might add, that Trump continually put his foot in his mouth with disparaging and distasteful comments or that he claimed to be the only one with the business acumen to help our country’s economic problems.

On the other hand, ask a republican what issues they have with Hillary Clinton and they will most likely say her arrogance as well.  It would be easy to use her issues with lying and being an untrusted establishment politician as evidence of an arrogant, me first attitude.

I’ll be honest with you.  I’m happy with the outcome of the election.  I’m hoping and praying that out newly elected officials will better represent more godly values in our nation going forward.  What is disappointing though are the arrogant attitudes that I see being shown by some Christians who find it necessary to publicly gloat over the outcome of a Trump presidency.  I would expect that those claiming the name of Christ would have the decency to know that one of the foundational traits of Christianity is God’s command to be humble and meek in heart.  I question how bragging about a Clinton loss or telling other people to get over it or move away if they don’t like Trump is behavior that is becoming of a Christian.

The Bible actually gives a good lesson about being smug or humble and it is found in the 18th chapter of Luke.  The parable begins by Jesus addressing a group of people “who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else” (Luke 18:9).  Basically, Jesus is speaking to a pack of arrogant, religious elitists who think they’ve cornered the market on godly behavior.  He tells the story of a Pharisee and a tax collector who go to the temple to pray, but the attitudes they bring with them are quite different.  The tax collector feels a great amount of guilt over his sin, so great that he can’t even bring himself to raise his eyes towards heaven.  He simply kneels there beating his chest and pleading for mercy from God (Luke 18:13).

The Pharisee behaves completely different.  He stands speaking to God like He’s some subordinate who owes the Pharisee allegiance.  He proceeds to brag about how good he is compared to others and how he proudly adheres to all the Jewish laws (Luke 18:11-12).  So what’s wrong with this picture?  Jesus answers that question for us when he says, “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14).  He makes it very clear that if we carry around a holier-than-thou attitude then we will eventually be humbled.  The sad part is, some will be humbled by God himself and find it too late to fix their arrogance problem.

I hope that we can all learn that an attitude of humility is vitally important to our inheriting the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).  Will Mr. Trump find that out himself?  Probably, considering that the office of president is a very humbling position.  By watching his victory speech, I believe he’s beginning to understand the weight of his responsibility. But what about us?  We must not be like the Pharisee and constantly compare ourselves with others in order to feel a sense of pride.  We must consistently examine our motives and make sure we have an attitude of meekness which is more becoming of a disciple of Christ.

-Joe

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