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
I borrowed the above to give some on “Best Religion” a good example of what true love and caring is. One on there is very negative, or as this article would have it, arragante. Maybe he shall be prodded to rise to a higher level of humanity than he has shown?
We all have a problem with feeling “I” am better than X in something. True use of one’s abilities is to help X to improve, so we all can share in His goodness. I pray we all do.
Reblogged this on 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources.
I think this is a good description of what it means to believe that all people are equal, rather than believing in pecking orders.
There’s certainly a submissive response of self-effacement that many people learn, as a way to try to gain acceptance from those who appear to be strong but are hard to please. The idea of self-sacrifice in Christianity definitely plays as a powerful metaphor in sustaining that kind of attitude, since love can be expected to be self-emptying.
As adults, we need to parent the physical and emotional parts of ourselves, kindly affirming our worth even while being honest about our need to keep growing. Without a concept of strong boundaries and self-care, we can only wait for others to heal inner wounds and meet emotional needs. This can lead to a form of self-neglect and codependence. It can form submissive attitudes towards leadership, and cause groupthink. It can make anxious attachments feel like love, familiarity, and vibrancy. And since no one is either perfect or imperfect, there are many respected people who have both excellent qualities and controlling ones… which blurs the situation.
It’s very hard to change beliefs when relying on the acceptance of others for our own self-acceptance. It’s hard to think clearly when we think God might expect us to take a leap of faith, but sadly, it’s often the attitudes of people around us about what constitutes arrogance that compels us to keep considering illogical conclusions. It’s not fair nor reasonable to be bound to such cognitive dissonance.
All we need is an openness to God’s guidance and, subsequently, a commitment to follow whatever makes solid sense. That’s one personal boundary that we can fairly and humbly make.
Many Christians also have the feeling that Christianity is more beautiful than any other story because of the idea that God would die for us. I think this implies that love is only complete if it involves utter loss. Why wouldn’t the love of God be perfect even without a need for self-sacrifice?
And many people are caught in unhealthy relationship dynamics because of the feeling that helping others gives us worth. Sometimes this can blind us to the wisdom of others, even if we do believe all people are equal, because we are too busy helping to actually listen well.