Sitting down and shutting up…

Why we need to stop thinking we are so smart and start listening and learning from others*

1.) Thinking of yourself as better than others is a pretty big sin.

In fact, one old saint calls that attitude the mother of hell. (And you know what I say, if hell has a mother, she must be one nasty momma…)

2.) If you are pretty smart, it’s only because God has gifted you. And if you are going around trusting in your intelligence you are taking that gift from God and using it in an absolutely perverted way. You are being a little like a kid who gets a bee-bee gun and aims it right at his foot.

3.) You are not as smart as you think you are anyway. Think for a minute about how little you know, say in comparison with the devil. The devil is crazy, but he’s smart. Are you going to tell me you are smarter than the devil? If you really believe that, watch out. If you don’t believe that, how in the world can you be so proud about how smart you are when you are not even as smart as the devil?

4.) You don’t know so much more than you know. Take the thing you think you know best, and consider how little you really know about it. Even geniuses like Einstein would look at the universe around them and say, man I’m just touching the edges. Actually, Einstein supposedly put it like this: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the the universe.”

5.) You are not going to grow much if you think you know so much more than everybody else. You’ll end up looking a little like a precocious four year old in a suit who goes around using big words and acting like he knows much more than he really does. At first, it might be kind of cute. But after a while, if he really does think he is as smart as everyone else in the room you feel a little bad for the guy.

6.) You are probably not even going to be a very good teacher. I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule because I think I made it up, but have you ever listened to someone teach who obviously really, really thinks alot of himself?

If they aren’t very smart, they are completely boring.

And if they happen to be pretty smart, the knowledge they do impart has like a bad taste to it. If it’s math they are teaching, o.k. it still might help you a bit but if they are trying to impart spiritual knowledge with that kind of attitude, it’s very difficult medicine to swallow.

Thomas Watson puts it like this, “The more one values himself, the less God and angels value him. Let a person be eminent, yet, if he is self-conceited, he is loved by none. He is like a physician who has the plague. Though he may be admired for his skill, yet none care to come near him.”

7.) You are cruising for a bruising. If you don’t humble yourself, you can be sure God will.

*Adapted from Thomas Watson’s “The Duty of Self-Denial”

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