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Articles From Our Bulletins

Thankful or Arrogant?

It’s obviously good to be thankful.  We need to be appreciative of the blessings- both spiritual and physical, that God so richly bestows upon us.  We can never be too grateful for our salvation through the abundant love, grace, and mercy provided by Jesus the Christ.  Likewise, the “rains from heaven and fruitful seasons” that satisfy our “hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17) give witness to the goodness of our abundantly benevolent God.  “Counting our many blessings” and “naming them one by one” is an impossible and humbling but wonderful task!  But…

We can also become entitled and arrogant about such things.  Remember the Pharisee in Luke 18:10-12?  He was also “thankful”!   He expressed prayerful gratitude and counted among his blessings that he was “not like other people” - he wasn’t a swindler or unjust (morally unrighteous), an adulterer (sexually impure), or “even like this tax-gatherer(no, he was a true patriot who loved his nation!).  I’m confident that he was actually “thankful” for these presumed “blessings,” though it seems to have been in an arrogant way, and with a heaping helping of entitlement to boot!

This kind of “Phariseeism” is still alive and well, unfortunately, even among us “brethren.”  We can easily become arrogantly thankful that we- unlike vast majority of the world in which we live, “have, know and believe the truth” (I’ve heard such included in prayers offered in worship services).  It’s a short trip from there to seating ourselves “in the chair of Moses” as the providers, purveyors, and arbiters of “truth,” cf. Matt.23:2ff!   With that kind of entitled perspective, it’s also a short trip to disdainfully “looking down our noses on” the moral failings of others – perhaps in blissful ignorance or rebellious arrogance of our inadequacies and sins (cf. Matt.7:1-5) just like the Pharisee mentioned above.  And of course, even if we do acknowledge a few “mistakes” of our own, we can always find reasons to be smugly dismissive of them since, after all, we’re not cheaters or homosexuals or adulterers and are (of course) loyal lovers of our nation and true patriots, cf. John 11:48

Be careful brethren, for “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble,” Jas.4:6!  It is oh so very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we “know His will, and approve the things that are essential” so as to become “confident that you (we, PCS) yourself (ourselves, PCS) are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature” as the very “embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,” Rom.2:18-21!  So, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you,” Jas.4:10… and the same goes for me too!