One of the most problematic attitudes common among CoC members is arrogance. It's easy, when talking to people who come off as arrogant, to become upset easily and react. When we run into pride, our automatic response is often more pride, we certainly don't want to come off as looking "less than" someone else who is puffing themselves up. But of course, that's the worst possible reaction, as it only results in a battle of pride.
Still, it's not always easy to remain humble when we should. One thing that helps me to try to keep my pride in check when speaking with CoC members who come off as arrogant is to remember my own arrogance when I was CoC, and to know I was that way because of what I had been taught. The very teaching about the sincerity of others (or lack thereof), if one believes it, can only result in apparent arrogance to non-CoC members.
If one asks a CoC member how they know that their interpretation of the scriptures is the correct one, and if they believe they are inerrant in that interpretation, certainly most CoC members, in a kind of attempt at humility will say, "It is not I, but the simple words of the Bible that are inerrant, I only read them and glean the truth from them." The problem is, anyone who has read the Bible knows it is not always the easiest thing to understand, and also knows one can't help but interpret it in some way. (After all, one of the clearest teachings, I think, is Christ telling us "For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed," and yet this is somehow understood to be symbolic according to the CoC.) In this denial of responsibility for the extrapolation of their beliefs, there is an undeniable implication that anyone else who doesn't come to the same understanding of the scriptures is either incredibly stupid or insincere in their search for truth. The more common belief is the latter, as it is a strongly held belief that the Bible is simple enough for anybody to understand. Most CoC members will say that if people truly and honestly search the scriptures, they will come to the CoC understanding of them, and many of them really and truly believe this, I certainly did! They conclude, therefore, that the whole of Christianity (that is, those outside the Churches of Christ) is just not sincere enough in their efforts to seek truth, rather than acknowledging that the Bible is not as "simple" to understand as they would like to believe, and this comes off as rather arrogant. When children are taught to assume ill intentions, or less than sincere intentions when someone disagrees with you, it can only result in astounding arrogance.
But despite this arrogance, I can't help but remind myself that I was once in their shoes, and I really didn't know better, and so I must give them the benefit of the doubt. I'm fortunate to have insight into the mindset having grown up in it, which allows me to have a little more patience than someone who didn't. It is absolutely necessary for CoC "theology" (if we could call it that) for the Bible to be transparent and completely understandable. Without this, the claim cannot be made that any old person off the street can read the Bible (with a sincere heart) and correctly determine what he must do to be saved. And without this claim, the frightening reality would be too much to bear...if the Bible is in any way difficult to understand, how could one ever be sure that his understanding of the Bible was correct? Especially if equally sincere people came to differing conclusions!? It certainly is a scary thought that the Bible would be anything less than "plain and simple" if you believe God handed us a book and expected each individual to figure things out for himself...but this fear keeps them from acknowledging their arrogant manner. Rather than admit that the Bible is not always easily understood, which would result in doubt and uneasiness, they prefer to believe those who don't come to the same conclusions just aren't sincere enough. It's a kind of self preservation tactic, without which they would not have any reason to believe their interpretation of scripture is any more correct than another.
And that is why my first step out of the CoC was realizing that there were truly honest and sincere people out there earnestly seeking truth who were not CoC. Once I crossed that bridge, my whole belief system began to unravel. And so I continue to remind myself, when speaking with CoC members who are coming off as arrogant, that they feel they must assume people who don't reach the same conclusions as they do are insincere, because their house of cards is so delicately stacked that to face the reality would certainly cause them to come tumbling down. And that is not an easy thing to face...so we must be understanding and kind, even when faced with attitudes that are less-than-respectful of our own beliefs. Trying to fight pride with pride will never help them see the corner they have painted themselves into, it is better to try and be an example of humility as Christ was to us, and to pray that they grow closer to Christ in their journey.
Learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. - Matthew 11:29