There is a joke that is going around, “How can you tell if the person at the party is a vegan? Don’t worry, they will let you know.”
I guess that means vegans are not afraid to brag about themselves and their accomplishments. It’s not just the vegans however. It’s the ultra-informed voters or the organic market extremists or the five figure club members. It is the super dads, the academic all-stars, the Bible thumpers, the healthy living fanatics, or the triple marathon runners. Maybe it is the green police, the homeschool warriors, the extreme couponers, the grammar Nazi or just the “cool kids”. Those that think because of x you are much better than all the y’s in life.
Now most of these things are not bad in and of themselves. If you want to teach your kid at home, eat a restrictive diet, exercise a lot and always use who and whom correctly, that’s great, more power to you. That’s not the problem. The problem is the air of superiority that can follow with. The danger we should be concerned with is when the <whatever it is> in our life make us think we are higher than everyone else.
In Luke 18:9, Jesus told a parable specifically for this type of mindset
And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:
He goes on to describe the prayers of two men. One is the best kind of person you could ever want to be. He doesn’t lie, cheat, or steal. He gives to charity; he suffers for his beliefs and is sure that God is pleased with him as he is with himself.
The other man is different. He is an admitted sinner. He stays in the back, doesn’t show any pride in himself and beats himself up because he know that the only way he can be right is if God takes mercy on him.
Jesus ends the story by telling us that the second man is the one that will be regarded by God. In all his accomplishments, the first man is lacking in a most important trait, humility.
"I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."
It is easy to see the negative things in life that can take us away from God, but positive things that do are harder to spot. It is not the thing that is wrong but how we are shaped by it. What we have to remember is even things that are morally neutral can become a sin if it develops in us wrong attitudes. Money is like that (1st Timothy 6:9-10). When we begin to think that our subset make us superior to others we are putting ourselves on very shaky ground. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).
Humility is the outfit that we should be clothed in no matter what activity we do