I have spent much of my life in education and in academia. It seems to be a occupational hazard to become pedantic and intellectually arrogant in such surroundings. Debate replaces conversation, and “being right” takes too much importance.
I am often guilty of this. I try to remain humble, as such attitudes are far from “winning friends and influencing people.” Yet, I do often fail. This is especially true when dealing with my nearest and dearest. I get so caught up in “teacher mode” that I forget what is important is the relationship not the point under discussion. I really do apologise to all I have done this with, especially my wife and family.
King Solomon, arguably the wisest man in history gives us a great lesson point in this regard. It is one we should always heed and remember.
“I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind . What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief (Ecclesiastes 1:12- 18).”
While there is much to value in education, knowledge, and even wisdom, they pale in the face of relationships with God and your fellow man. In one’s relationship with God, they risk building barriers of vanity and pride. In one’s relationship with others, it causes disagreement, division, and the arrogance associated with it creates hurt.
Let us seek to be wise in our wisdom. Let us make knowledge, and its application what it is intended to be: a tool, not an end in itself.
Paul reminds us in this vein, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing (I Corinthians 13: 1-3). Italics mine.
When we find that we are full of ourselves, let us remember to LOVE FIRST!