Arrogance, Confidence and Jewish Pride
Christians pride themselves in their humility towards Jesus. They see the bending of their hearts in devotion towards the character described in the pages of the Christian Scriptures as an act of humility and self-effacement. Conversely; these Christians look down at the Jewish refusal to bow towards Jesus as an act of arrogance and conceit.
Let us examine the heart of the matter.
We all find arrogance and haughtiness to be distasteful (at least when we see these qualities in other people). On the other hand we find that confidence is a positive and necessary human characteristic. Who enjoys working with an arrogant snot? Yet at the same time we find it so difficult to work with a person who has no confidence in themselves. How are these two qualities; arrogance and confidence, different from each other?
Both the haughty person and the confident person believe in themselves but here is where the similarity ends. The haughty person needs to measure himself against other people. The characteristic of arrogance is evident when a person sees themselves as superior than other people. Confidence is a belief in oneself that does need to put down other people.
The arrogant person needs to believe that the qualities that she possesses are entirely her own and are not shared by anyone else – at least not to the degree that these qualities are present in her own personality. The confident person recognizes their own qualities but has no difficulty recognizing similar or different qualities in other people. The arrogant person is blind to his own faults and is also blind to the positive characteristics present in other people. The confident person does not need to deny reality. The confident person can acknowledge their own failings and faults and can accept that other people possess admirable qualities.
Haughtiness pits the arrogant person against the rest of the world. Haughtiness and arrogance are bitter and vindictive. The confident person does not see herself as competing with the rest of the world for her sense of self-worth. The confident person is not bitter or vindictive. The confident person faces the world with serenity and peace.
Which of these two human qualities stands behind the Jewish refusal to bend towards Jesus? Is it arrogance or is it confidence?
The Jewish refusal to direct devotion towards Jesus is rooted in a deep confidence. A confidence that believes that every human being; Jew, Christian, Moslem, Hindu and even Jesus himself is completely subject to God and to no one else. The Jewish rejection of the Christian message is not bitter or vindictive. The heart of the Jew is filled with confidence that the light that God poured into our hearts will one day fill the world. God promised and His word is true (Isaiah 60:3; 40:8).
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal