The dangers of arrogance

Arrogant people bother me. How about you? And I’m not talking about confident people either. Confidence is different than arrogance. Confidence is a surety of self or action or perspective; arrogance is bragging about it.

Ivy in autumn - Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Ivy in autumn - Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Habakkuk 2:5.

Wealth is treacherous, and the arrogant are never at rest. They open their mouths as wide as the grave, and like death, they are never satisfied. In their greed they have gathered up many nations and swallowed many peoples.

Have you ever met an arrogant person? Someone who is so boastful, so proud of their accomplishments that he or she can’t stand to sit at home and just be? Boastful, proud people usually have to go out and tell other people all of their accomplishments. And they never stop because they can never get enough attention or fame or credit or influence. And they’re never satisfied, just like death.

Why is that? Have you ever tried to get into an arrogant person’s head? Sometimes I can understand why they feel the need to be arrogant, but most of the time I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I’m just not a very confident person, but I can’t imagine being arrogant about anything, especially if there is a lot on the line.

I was curious about some of the phrasing in this verse, especially, the arrogant are never at rest. What does that mean? Well, I looked at it in the Amplified Version, and this is what it says: “restless and cannot stay at home.” I wasn’t really sure about that, but the more I thought about it, the more I think it’s probably true.

Arrogant people are constantly busy running around, getting involved in other peoples’ lives and business. They aren’t content to stay home and be. They have to stay busy. They have to stay active. They have to stay visible. And they have to interfere. At least, that’s the way the ones I know behave. And they have to do all that because if they don’t (in their mind) people will forget about them.

So really, arrogance doesn’t stem from confidence. It stems from insecurity.

 So what does this mean for us?

Well, no one likes an arrogant person. Let’s just be honest about that. Arrogant people rub everybody the wrong way. So it should be our goal to not be arrogant. And again, I’m talking about being confident because there’s a difference. Although, I’ve met some confident people who act arrogant, and while their arrogance is somewhat founded because they really do know what they’re doing, it’s still not pleasant to be around. You can be humble and confident at the same time.

So what about dealing with an arrogant person? How do you manage that when you really just want to pop them in the nose?

I’m a strong believer in second and third and even fourth chances for people I don’t even like. If you’re someone I love and you do something that hurts me, sorry to tell you but you’re still stuck with me. That’s just the way friendship works for me. But if someone I’m not really friends with does something against me, usually I’m still okay with forgiving them and giving them another opportunity to show me that they aren’t like that all the time.

So when I run across an arrogant person, I try to look past the bravado and the facade on the outside and see the hurting person underneath. I try to encourage them to be themselves. I try to help the insecurity go away, because if you can eliminate the insecurity, the arrogance fades too.

But there’s only so much you can do and you have to be careful. It’s just like a relationship with someone you’re trying to help get out of a sin. An arrogant person can drag you down. More often than not, arrogant people have gotten me into situations where I have to bail myself out. Why? Because I thought I would give them a chance to prove that they really did know what they were doing … and it turned out that they didn’t.

All that to say, trusting an arrogant person can be dangerous. Being close friends with an arrogant person can be harmful. Not saying you shouldn’t be friends with them (if you can stand them), but just remember that someone who is walking around talking about all the great things he or she can do or has done doesn’t mean that he or she actually can accomplish what they say.  

Give arrogant people a chance. Love them for who they are. Encourage them so that they don’t have to feel insecure about whatever it is they feel insecure about. But if they don’t listen, if they don’t hear, step back. Get out of their lives. Because arrogant people really are like death: they’re never satisfied, they’re always greedy, and they won’t care who they take down with them.

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