Pride, Arrogance and Gossip
Have no Place in the Body of Believers
Why is it when people step into a new level of observance, or a deeper understanding of G-d, why do they then become arrogant and prideful towards those they think “haven’t figured it out yet?” This ultimately leads to gossip and in the age of social networking, text messages and 24 hour busy bodies, this gets ugly really fast.
How do we stave off pride and arrogance? How do we teach our children that they are not better than their neighbors and friends, because we attend church more often, follow Torah, keep Biblical feasts or just don’t do Halloween? How do we translate being set aside and holy into humility and meekness?
One of the easiest and yet the hardest ways to emulate humility is to admit we are wrong. Well first we would have to be wrong and how often does that happen? Okay back to reality, so after we are wrong, admitting it to our children or husband in front of our children is the best lesson they will ever get. And yet it will be the hardest lesson for us to learn. So often we can fall into a place of arrogance with our children, feeling or claiming erroneously that Mommy is always right…which is so often not the case. Once we learn this lesson with our children it will become so much easier to apply it in other areas of our life.
What? We are prideful and arrogant in other areas too? This is going too far, I may admit to yelling at the kids or snapping at my husband but I am as humble as a lamb when it comes to my other dealings…well except on Facebook, or when I am talking to my husband in the car after service about “that” woman…omz, here comes the gossip. Alright, not perfect, not ever.
Like many of my readers, I am a Facebook addict, I love a good Yahoo! Group and I can’t get enough of a good argument. But I am also guilty of being prideful and arrogant and not approaching my fellow sisters in love and gentle nature. In Matthew 7 we are taught not to judge others, because we will be judged by that same measure. I once believed that this was a “Great White” throne reference of judgement, but I now think that it is more of a “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” type of reference. Without fail if I lambast someone for their shortcomings it isn’t long before I get a volley of arrows raining down on my head too. You think we would learn?
“You don’t understand though, this woman had it coming, she was so wrong and she was just using the Scriptures to prove her point. They weren’t interpreted right, and she had no grasp on the Hebrew or the Jewish context. Not to mention she never once quoted Rashi…”
Okay so she’s wrong. You love her as a sister in Messiah and you want to help her see the light. So you beat her over the head in public and then wonder why she unfriends you? I am sure there is a better way, I’m positive because the Bible says so.
She is your sister, you need to approach her in love, and this shouldn’t be done in a public forum. When we set out to correct someone we should first examine our reasons, is it because we love them and are worried for the path they are on? Or is it simply to be right and strut our theological stuff? In Matthew the Master teaches us to approach the person alone, then if they don’t hear us to bring in the elders and then the congregation. We probably don’t have that exact structure on FB, but I think the idea of first approaching the person privately is a good thing. We love them, we want to see them do better, we approach them privately, Yeshua says, “If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” Isn’t this what we want? A closer community, no feelings of embarassment or a need to save face in front of others.
When we establish this private conversation we are much less likely to gossip or to bring her faults out into the harsh light of the computer screen. In the Chafetz Chaim an amazing work on the laws of Lashon Hora (evil tongue, bad talk, gossip) it is forbidden to speak about another person’s failings in their observance of Torah, in their keeping of Halacha and even in community traditions. It is forbidden even if it is true, even if you were an eye witness and it is forbidden even if you change the names to protect the innocent, but we all know who you are talking about anyways. So maybe if he had lived today it would be forbidden to call such a thing out on FB or text about it between friends.