Most have heard or quoted the familiar verse, “Pride comes before a fall.” However, that is not the entirety of the verse or how it reads. It says,
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit with the afflicted than to share the spoil with the proud.
Destruction is often left out, but destruction is a strong word. It is Sheber in Hebrew– breaking, fracture, shattering, crushing · crashing · and curiously, breaking (of a dream), interpretation·
One definition is “broken footed.”
Oh, the tragedies of pride. Thick pride that does nothing but rob us of relationships. Pride goes before. It goes first. After pride marches forth, destruction, crushing, breaking, shattering, and fractures happen.
A haughty spirit goes before a fall. Is not pride and a haughty spirit one and the same? What is the difference? According to Scripture, gōbah (haughty) in Hebrew is a mark of man’s arrogance. It is the heights—the highest of the heavens of pride. Basically, the person oozing from such grandeur thinks of himself as a god, and therefore they can say or do what they want to anyone because of pride, arrogance, and the belief that they are entitled and right in their actions and words.
The Bible speaks of people who wear pride like jewelry. An adornment of pride– sparkling jewels, but these are not jewels given by the Holy Spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. No, this adornment brings destruction.
Psalm 73:6: They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty. Psalm 73:6, CSB: Therefore, pride is their necklace, and violence covers them like a garment.
Righteous Job had a different attire and clothed himself in robes of righteousness.
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban. Job 29:14.
One thing I noticed and have noticed about us humans is we can be so sure of ourselves and our knowledge that we think we know, and if we receive attention, accolades, and applause for it, we can become pompous. A head too big to fit through a door. Puffed up.
Have you ever encountered “The know it all?” Have you ever been one? At some point, we all have.
Some “know-it-alls” deal with fears, insecurity, anger, or hopelessness. Underneath all their pomp and rage is a person who does not see themselves. They have never slowed down enough to get to know themselves and have no idea they are hurting others or turning people away by their arrogance and pride.
When pride takes over, any form of introspection, looking inward and asking ourselves why we do what we do, and why we say the things we say is outside our list of priorities. Excessive talking can lead to destruction. The Bible says, “A soft answer turn away wrath.” Why are we getting angry in traffic? Angry at family, coworkers, friends, and spouses? On and on, pride enters every corner and crevice. Pride puts others down. Pride mocks. Pride gets the last word. Pride wears high heels. Be angry and sin not. Righteous anger is one of the words we say when we do get upset or explode but many times it’s not righteous anger at all.
Know-it-alls are experts. They have credentials. They may look and smell good— put together. They love to talk. They love to hear themselves talk. They are experts at interrupting in order to put their two cents (worth) in. Advice? There’s no problem they can’t solve. They have it in oodles.
Surmising and sizing people up is their specialties. They might begin sentences with, “You know what their problem is?” Not only do they know everything, but they are also very opinionated to the point they cannot see another person’s views. It’s all black and white. There’s no pondering. No empathy or compassion for the other person. Everyone should think and feel just like them because, of course, they know what is true and correct and how one should live their life.
Know it Alls are argumentative and condescending. They love jumping into conversations at half-time and giving their point of view. Many times, in a class setting, they will explore the topic or title of the session and research before entering the meeting so they can interject and try and win points with the teacher or scholar and impress the room. Usually, they know just enough to be dangerous.
We all have been this person in some form or fashion.
Sadly, if we think back to tying our shoe days or learning the alphabet, we can conclude that we only know what others have taught us—parents, caregivers, friends, teachers, authors, rabbis, ministers, our bosses, and those with greyer hair. No one person can be an expert in everything. We are always learning. Changing. Growing. Hopefully, becoming more loving, more sensitive, less judgmental, and racist. Prayerfully we are trying to love our neighbor as ourselves. We all need mercy. We long for mercy from above when we have fallen from pride or some sin that has beset us, but do we offer this same mercy to others?
Most Know it all’s have gathered attention through their knowledge or, at a young age, were rewarded for their knowledge or ability to jump in and tell it like it is. Usually, underneath, there is an insecure, hopeless, downtrodden person seeking attention and love and longing to feel important.
Parents beware, empathy, compassion, gardening, painting, etc., are all good things to promote. When parents only focus on intelligence or what they deem necessary, such as a college degree, or if parents constantly point out other people’s stupidity, this causes many issues. We should train a child up in the way he should go according to Torah, but we can often raise them to mimic our pride. We can bad-mouth others or talk about how retarded, good-for-nothing and lazy so and so is. This type of language will then easily flow from the home. And before we know it, we have hung jewelry on our children’s necks, and they, too, wear pride like an accessory.
I used to say, “you know what I would do if I were you?” Now, when I hear it, my response in my spirit is, “No, I don’t, and I don’t want to know unless I ask you.”
Sadly, I’m guilty of saying this or thinking it. Are you?
Some are not only “know it all’s” but great at manipulation. They are sly, sneaky know-it-alls. These are the worst know-it-alls of all. These folks act as if they need advice in an area, but honestly, they just assume you’re ignorant in that area and want to make sure you gain this knowledge that you lack. They want to make sure you learn the Bible they know. The political views they favor. The way to raise your children their way. On and on it goes. So, the person gathers the information, runs swiftly to social media, and fills their feed with articles and memes or calls, texts, or sends blogs, videos, etc., to influence the person who is missing the big picture in their opinion. These tactics usually do not change anyone’s mind. They often separate and cause hurts and division. And many times, the other person may not say much, but they leave the conversation wounded, or offended.
Whenever we are acting as Know it All’s we mean well. We are very busy trying to save the world, fix the frown, heal the room, bake the pie, volunteer, open our home, etc., and because we think we know everything, obviously, if others took our advice, training, teaching, corrections. They would have a good life.
Many times, anything going wrong in someone’s life is due to what the Know it All surmises are their fault, their bad choices, their sins, or something they are missing. This may be true, but at the end of the day, most people who want advice or thoughts on a matter ask. And most of us already know the changes we need to make. Deep inside, we know, and often, we are prayerfully trying to change. Boundaries are needed. We must ask for wisdom from someone we trust and find wise, and of course, as believers, we ask the Father, and seek out people who will not spread our personal lives all over the planet. Finding these people may be difficult. All of us can let others down. At the end of the day, we are to think the best of others and not see them with a stink eye.
Many times, and sadly more so today with those who hide behind computer screens and feel free to say whatever they want, when in fact if the person were sitting across from them, they probably would not boast or correct so harshly. In all things, trust is needed, and it takes time to earn trust and build healthy relationships. If we have known someone for years and they have been a good friend with a compassionate heart and a listening ear, and suddenly we view them as an enemy and a person we do not trust, it might be us who need a mirror. Introspection is an ongoing process.
Take a minute, pray before phone calls. Ask yourself what it is about someone that bothers you and see if you can find that same thing in yourself. Ask yourself questions. Why am I feeling this way? Why am I not happy for so and so’s success, or do I have jealousy, strife, bitterness, or some unforgiveness that needs dealt with. When trying to bring healing or confronting a situation, we need to taste our words before spitting them out. If the tables were turned, would we be hurt by the words we are speaking, or do we need to hear them?
The Bible says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of the enemy are deceitful.” Although a friend might wound by being honest, they will not word things with anger, bitterness, strife and arrogance.
“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” James 3:17.
How do we deal with Know it All’s and how do we deal with pride and arrogance?
First, we do not have to have the last word. We must be empathetic. Listen. Do not argue. Let the person talk until they have said what is on their heart. Ask questions that make the person think more about their thoughts, and also look in the mirror to make sure we are not displaying the same issues. Do we have to have the last word? Are we often feeling as if others are wrong? Do we find ourselves in an argument with others often? Do we feel the need to point out others’ mistakes, shortcomings, sins, pride, or immaturity? Do we find we put others down more than we lift them up?
Choose your battles. At the end of the day, it’s hard to change a person in this condition. Know-it-alls are usually very insecure. Correcting them can cause a blow to their egos. It can shatter them. In all things it is the sick who need a doctor, but some doctors lack good bedside manner and others lack both wisdom, and knowledge concerning the condition of the patient. Lead with humility. Sometimes the best way to deal with someone like this is with silence. A soft or gentle answer turns away wrath.
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger calms a dispute.
What is it that we should strive to do?
Again, the book of James says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”
David asked the Father to search him and know him and see if He could find anything unpleasing in him. This is a difficult journey at times. We all can be full of pride. We all can be headed for destruction and unaware. We all can fall.
“For though a righteous man may fall seven times, he still gets up; but the wicked stumble in bad times.” Proverbs 24:16.
Proverbs 24 is worthy of meditating on for a lengthy period:
“By wisdom, a house is built, and by understanding, it is established.
through knowledge, its rooms are filled with every precious and beautiful treasure. A wise man is strong, and a man of knowledge enhances his strength. Only with sound guidance should you wage war, and victory lies in a multitude of counselors. Wisdom is too high for a fool; he does not open his mouth in the meeting place. He who plots evil will be called a schemer. A foolish scheme is sin, and a mocker is detestable to men.”
May we realize that we do not know as much as we should, and we can never be as humble as our Savior, who washed the feet of His disciples and gave his life for us.