Arrogance: What’s Wrong with It?


Richard Sherman during 2013 Seattle Seahawks training camp. After the AFC Championship game, Sherman made some comments that many have interpreted as highly arrogant. What do you think?

Why Talk about Arrogance?

Thanks to a crazy post-game interview by Seattle Seahawks standout cornerback Richard Sherman, arrogance has been on my mind.  Click on the link in the previous sentence to watch a video of the interview or you can read what was said here:

Erin Andrews: Richard, let me ask you; the final play, take me through it…

Sherman:  Well, I’m the best corner in the game!  When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re going to get!  Don’t you ever talk about me!

Andrews: Who was talking about you?

Sherman: Crabtree.  Don’t you open your mouth about the best!  Or I’m going to shut it for you real quick!  L-O-B!

Andrews: Alright, befo-…and…Joe, back over to you!

I don’t want to judge Sherman directly.  Instead, I want to examine why I didn’t like his comments.

So, why didn’t I?  One word: arrogance.

Again, I want to be clear, I’m not accusing Sherman of being arrogant.  What I’m saying is that his comments certainly sounded awfully arrogant.  I mean, the guy talked about being the best twice in the matter of fifteen seconds.

And when I heard Sherman’s comments I immediately cringed.  And as I’ve thought about why I cringed, it forced me to think a bit about arrogance and how it comes across to others.  As a follower of Jesus and/or as a leader, this is an important topic.  How people perceive you is a big deal!  It can make or break your witness to someone and it can sap whatever leadership capital you may have built up over time.


Silly cat!

So, What’s Wrong with Arrogance?

  1. As Sherman’s interview plainly illustrates, it can cause you to belittle those around you.  Even if you are the best at what you do or even if you are qualitatively better than others, no one wants to hear it.  No one.
  2. Arrogance can cause the people around you to be uncomfortable.  Just listen to Andrews’ final response to Sherman.  She’s clearly uncomfortable in that situation.  When you tell the world that you are the best, it makes others not want to listen to you or be around you anymore!
  3. Being arrogant can also lead to being over-scrutinized.  If you go around telling everyone how great you are, then the moment you do something stupid, silly, wrong, or just mediocre, people are going to notice!  They are going to remember that you said you were the best and point out to you how you really aren’t!
  4. Those with whom you are associated are affected by your arrogance also.  Seahawks’ players and coaches are having to answer questions now about Sherman’s post-game tirade when they’d rather be talking about football.  The same is true in reality.  When you are arrogant those around you are forced to either defend you, explain you, make excuses for you, or distance themselves from you.  None of those things are very considerate of the people closest to you!
  5. Lastly, arrogance is connected with self-centeredness, disagreeability, poor work performance, and lowered cognitive abilities.  In other words, being arrogant can cause people not to like you and it can hurt how well you are actually doing whatever it is that you are doing.  [SOURCE]

So, what does all of this mean for followers of Jesus and/or Christian leaders?  Don’t be arrogant!  We must fight against our natural tendencies to toot our own horns!  We need to remember that we are all messed up and broken sinners in constant need of God’s grace and anything that we do well is only thanks to the blessings of God and the help of others.  In other words, we need to live out Philippians 2.3-4:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

What do you think?  What affect does arrogance have in our relationships?  Let me know in the comments below!