One of the greatest hindrances to humility is knowledge. I am certainly not opposed to education, nor is God, but education without the fear of the Lord only teaches a person to sin more creatively.
There is an interesting text about the danger of knowledge apart from love. The Bible says, “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth”. (I Corinthians 8:1) While the context isn’t about formal education, it certainly applies.
The passage deals with their knowledge that there was no such thing as a living idol. The believers at Corinth were unwilling to defer to others that were converted from a background of worshiping idols. The information they had was correct, but their heart was selfish and unloving. The Bible says, “Charity is not puffed up” (I Corinthians 13:4).
Love has absolutely nothing to do with who has the best information, but how you use it. Some use knowledge to destroy people and others use it to build people. Knowledge tends to focus on the loophole or the technical side, no matter who is hurt as long as it can be defended. Love is willing to yield personal rights in order that others are not hurt.
Pride builds one’s self up; love builds others up. “Charity edifith” (I Corinthians 8:1) and is “not puffed up” (I Corinthians 13:4). Pride uses knowledge to tear others down in order to build itself up and to look better.
I know people that know the Bible very well; so well, in fact, that they use it to tell everyone else how to live their lives while ignoring their own needs. Their head is filled with Bible stories and facts, but their heart is bereft of love.
I know others that don’t have a great command of the Bible and even struggle with some personal problems. Though they don’t have as much knowledge they have a bigger heart of love. A mind full of knowledge will pick apart and criticize, but a heart full of love will build and overlook petty matters.
“Unsolicited advice is a form of criticism”, said Curtis Hutson. One reason we criticize is because of how much we know of what the other person is not doing. It’s true, analysis is paralysis.
William Carey was not only a great missionary, but an outstanding linguist. He translated parts of the Bible in thirty-four different languages. He was a brilliant man. But he began his life as a shoe repairman, a simple, common task.
He came to India as a missionary and because of the caste system in that culture had no respect from others in spite of his abilities. Once at a dinner party a wealthy snob decided to pick on Carey and humiliate him because of his low place in the caste system.
Loudly so that all could hear him, he said, “Mr. Carey, I understand you once worked as a shoemaker?” Carey replied, “Oh, no, sir, not a shoemaker, just a shoe repairman”. He took the lowest place by not even claiming to make shoes.
Though he was a knowledgeable man he refused to strike back when his esteem was attacked. Only love will do that.