“To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more.’” – Psalm 75:4

Do not keep talking so proudly
or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the LORD is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed. – 1 Samuel 2:3

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. – James 4:6

Woe! Woe to us. We are arrogant people, and we live in an arrogant age. We consider it normal for our leaders to boast and crow and gloat out of one side of their mouth, while out of the other side they sneer that their foe is the lowest of the low. The correct response to seeing someone engaged in this type of behavior would be to pray for their soul, wouldn’t it? The same sort of things happens with controversies in the church. From time to time we don’t all agree, and oh merciful God please forgive us when our leaders cast judgement on one another over twitter.

There is a story from the era of the desert fathers and mothers. One time a disciple of Abba Poemen was traveling, and he happened upon a hermit who had amazing things to say about the mysteries of God and heaven. The disciple suggested to the hermit that he should come speak to Abba Poemen about these things. Some time later the hermit came to where Abba Poemen was staying. The disciple introduced the two men, and the hermit began to talk about heaven and God. Abba Poemen wouldn’t talk to the hermit, he just turned his face away. The hermit was offended and went to leave. He said to the disciple that his journey was useless, since Abba Poemen would not speak with him. The disciple went in and asked his master why he wouldn’t speak with the man who had traveled so far to see him. Abba Poemen replied that he was from earth, not from heaven, and it was not his place to speak about heavenly mysteries, but to speak about the struggle against his passions (worldly desires). The disciple went out and explained to the hermit what Abba Poemen had said. The hermit was struck to the heart with repentance. He rushed back into Abba Poemen and said, “What shall I do? I am ruled by my passions.” Then the two men could speak freely, and both were blessed.

Jesus Christ is God Almighty. He chose to be a servant. He allowed himself to be humiliated. As his followers, let’s turn our faces away from boasting and arrogance. There is no reason to boast. We are dirt creatures. Let’s not pretend any different. Maybe then we can be free to bless and be blessed.

David Brown attended Junior Camp 2 in 1989 and liked it a lot. Although he doesn’t like strawberries, he has read the first half of Moby Dick, Herman Melville’s masterpiece of cetaceous fiction. Image credit: Laura Jurek, via CreationSwap

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