By Robert Williams, Lead Pastor at The Bridge Church
One. Big. Mistake.
That’s the thought I am sure went through Matt Hasselbeck’s mind the day of the 2003 NFC Wildcard Playoff game. That day the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers were facing off for the right to move on in the playoffs and they made it all the way to overtime.
The Packers had been leading a majority of the game, but Matt Hasselbeck, the quarterback for the Seahawks, helped his team climb all the way to back to tie the score late in the fourth quarter and push it into overtime.
The offense was rolling. All of the momentum was on Seattle’s side of the ball and Matt was feeling confident. Cue up the coin flip! In the event of overtime of any NFL game, another coinflip is initiated to see who will get the ball first. Little did Matt know that this coinflip would go down in history.
The referee asked Matt the call. He responded with “heads” and would win the toss. But that isn’t what made this coinflip infamous. Matt would then lean toward the referee near his microphone for all the world to hear, “Give us the ball, we’re gonna score!”
Two possessions later, Matt would throw the game-winning pass. The problem is that it wasn’t a touchdown. He threw an interception to the Green Bay Packers corner, which would be taken back for a touchdown to win the game for the Packers.
There’s a fine line between arrogance and confidence, isn’t there? In professional sports, confidence is an extremely important quality, but when does it become arrogance?
I’ve been meditating on this thought for some time now, and I think I’ve finally put my finger on it: Confidence becomes arrogance when we forget where it all comes from. Was Matt arrogant? Maybe. But then maybe he wasn’t.
In the Bible, Jesus tells the story of a Pharisee and a tax collector who pray to God. In Jesus’ time, Pharisees were highly regarded while tax collectors were hated.
But the Pharisee prays, “God I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.”
But then the tax collector, who prayed from a long way off, didn’t even feel worth to lift his eyes in prayer. He only prayed, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”
Which of these men approached God in humility?
I think confidence becomes arrogance when we forget how unworthy we are and when we forget where it all comes from. God is the ultimate provider of everything. Without Him, we have nothing. He sent His Son to die for us, yes, but He doesn’t need us.
He loves us. He desires to be in relationship with us. But He can’t do that when we are foolish and self-righteous. To act like that would be one. Big. Mistake.
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18:14b