The hazard of haughtiness

Week beginning: 11th August, 2019 | By Brent Haywood | Edinburgh

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord."

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (NIV)

'Haughtiness' – it is a word that has gone out of fashion somewhat. I'm campaigning for its return to popular use, mainly because there seems to be a lot of it around just now.

Clients and colleagues like to see self-confidence in their lawyers: it provides a sense of assurance. After a few years in the law I have, however, observed many instances of self-confidence flipping into haughtiness. I've seen it in others and I've seen it in myself. It is both ugly and blinding. Many able lawyers become foolish in their own wisdom. We ought not to be surprised by this for, left to our own devices, our inclination to self-sufficiency knows no bounds. Haughtiness is a particular occupational hazard.

Lawyers would do well to keep some passages of scripture particularly close and I think this is one of them. Experience tells me that as soon as I think I am in control of a situation the rot begins to set in. Oswald Chambers said it with much more elegance: "God's friendship is with people who know their poverty. He can accomplish nothing with the person who thinks that he is of use to God" (My Utmost for His Highest). Only in Christ Jesus is there wisdom from God – "that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." Maybe it is as simple as this: strive to be wise, not right?

Prayer Points:

1. We are all drawn to haughtiness. Do some examination and pray that you seek the wisdom from God.
2. Pray for wisdom to discern the haughtiness in your own heart and seek forgiveness.
3. Pray for the wisdom to read haughtiness in others and then for the grace to pray how God might "choose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; the weak things to shame the strong."
4. Pray that we all might react to haughtiness with grace and love and not, as is tempting, with disdain.