The Arrogance of IndependenceGuest Editorial by Sarah Carnes

Hello, my name is Sarah and I am arrogant. I am part of a generation that does not like to ask for help. A generation that thrives on pride and finds tears a sign of weakness. We hide our faults and put on facades. We act like we have it all together, while we crumple on the inside. I am supposed to be an independent woman and figure it out on my own. At least, that is what I thought. It seems the older I get, the more I realize that my independence is arrogance. And arrogance is often times my downfall.

Arrogance, according to, is an offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride. No one really likes an arrogant person or grows up thinking someday I’ll be arrogant. God does not like it either. In 1 Samuel 15:23, God compares arrogance to “the evil of idolatry.”

I would have never considered myself an arrogant person, but God revealed this character weakness several different ways.

#1: Self-Reliance

My favorite phrase in life was I’ll figure it out. Growing up my mom was verbally abusive and easily angered. I spent a lot of time trying to keep the peace. When a problem would arise – emotional or situational – I would often times find my own solutions to avoid conflict. Today I still struggle with asking for help and over time “keeping the peace” became overbearing pride.

I do not always like to ask for help or advice, but I have to. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” In many cases, the stress in my life was because I didn’t ask for help and found myself in a bigger mess. Self-reliance is foolish and arrogant. It says, “I know it all and I don’t need your opinion.”

Self-reliance is also trusting in self, instead of God. That is even more dangerous and not a place we want to be:

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.’” (Jeremiah 17:5-6)

Trusting in oneself is trusting in man, and the person who trusts man finds his or herself in a wasteland. I think that asking for help or advice and relying on God is a much better option.

#2: You Forget to Take God With You

Every morning I make sure I look presentable, eat breakfast, and pack my lunch. And before I leave for work, I double check and make sure I have my phone, lunch, and bus card. But you know what? I don’t always leave the house after having a deep one-on-one time with God and sometimes I do, but fail to apply the scriptures to my life.

Having a daily time with God is important. And when you don’t have them and continually push it off, it’s like saying we don’t need God. As disciples, we are taught that time spent in prayer and scriptures is essential and without Him our faith will suffer. Even Jesus made sure to spend time with God.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

When we continually go about our days and ignore God. Or make rash decisions without praying. We tell God that our time is more important and that we can handle our life without Him. The scriptures aren’t simply encouraging anecdotes for our day, but they are life; the word of God. Not using or applying them and not praying to God daily are signs of arrogance.

#3: Partial Obedience

1 Samuel 15 tells us about the fall of Saul, the first king of Israel. God gave Saul specific instructions to completely destroy all that belongs to the Amalekites, a group of people who had ambushed the Israelites when they came up from Egypt. Saul did confront the Amalekites, but instead of destroying everything he kept the best of their livestock. God was not pleased and said:

“I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” (1 Samuel 15:11)

Partial obedience is complete disobedience. Saul did not follow God’s instructions and his position was taken from him because of it.

“But Samuel said to him, ‘I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!’” (1 Samuel 15:26)

It is easy to judge Saul and mock his behavior, but ask yourself, have you ever chosen to obey one scripture and ignore another? Have you ever put off repentance or only repented in a certain area, but kept sinning in another area of your life? That is partial obedience to the word of God.

When you partially obey God or partially repent, you tell God, “My way is better.” Arrogance at its root is self-idolization; complying to self before bowing to God. You elevate yourself above God and put yourself in his place. It’s like saying, “Yeah God…I hear you. I think you make some good points, but I’m going to repent this way instead.”

Now, we wouldn’t verbally say such a thing to God, but what do our actions say. To not humble yourself to the scriptures and only doing what is convenient, is arrogant and it’s putting yourself in the place of God. And in case you didn’t know, his way is always the best way.

The Solution to Arrogance

The solution to arrogance for me is to recognize who I am before God.

“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.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

I was lost before I was called by God. I was not wise or popular. I was insecure, fearful, and in the darkness. So, who am I to go a day without spending time with God? Who am I to think I know better than my leaders and never ask for advice? Who am I to only obey parts of the Bible, when God (the writer) made it to free me from sin not to imprison by rules?

Hello my name is Sarah and I can be arrogant. But I choose not to be. I choose to repent. I choose to be devoted to God’s teachings (the Bible), His mission (saving the lost) and His children (other disciples). I choose to standout in this generation. Instead of being an independent woman, I’d much rather be a righteous woman dependent on my God.