Humility is a trait that is more elusive to me than anything I have ever attempted to pursue. There is a notion that we should, as Christians and as citizens of the world in general be humble. Webster’s defines the word humble as “not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive”. The root of the word derives itself from Latin and Greek origin that best translates back to “of the ground, from earth”.
I had a patient once who would announce her arrival into the area by singing, as loud as she could: “LORD IT’S HARD TO BE HUMBLE WHEN YOU’RE PERFECT LIKE ME IN EVERYWAY…” I laughed and enjoyed hearing it, she brought a great tongue-in-cheek angle to humility when she entered the room. I wonder though how many times in my life I have sang that same song, hummed those same lyrics and didn’t even realize it.
The farther you get into your profession, or spiritual growth, or intelligence or expertise in a certain area, the more praise and admiration is directed your way, and the more it becomes difficult to maintain humility. In the Parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee in Luke 18, Jesus tells the story of a proud Pharisee and a humbled sinner in the tax man. Verse 14 sums it up to His audience:
"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:14)
Too many times I exalt myself, I raise myself up in my own eyes and attempt to in the eyes of others. Humility becomes a challenge, a trait that drifts away slowly. And when we become proud, haughty people, we lose the ability to interact as a community, to truly be supportive of each other instead of critical or judgmental. Ephesians 4:2-3 tells us:
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
We cannot hold each other when we are busy holding up ourselves. So in this I pray for you and I to be humble, and to do this so we can bear each other in love.
Where do you struggle with staying humble in your life?