Friday, May 7, 2010

Humility...

I was reading in the Psalms this morning and came across this verse; Psalm 45:4

"In your majesty ride forth victoriously
       in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness;
       let your right hand display awesome deeds."


What stood out to me was the word "humility."  It's that word "humility" that sticks out to me.  Why?  The Psalm is a picture of a King riding forth on behalf of, or as the NAS puts it, for the "cause" of truth, humility and righteousness.  I get riding on behalf of truth and justice, kind of like "Superman" (defender of truth and justice), but humility?

When you cross-reference this verse it leads you to another spot; Zephaniah 2:3

"Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land,
       you who do what he commands.
       Seek righteousness, seek humility;"


Humility.  Do you have it?  Is it something that one can "learn" or "obtain?"  Websters defines it "not proud or haughty: not arrogant or assertive."  Clearly, humility is something that God places a high value on...but where does it start?  How do you grow and foster humility?  These are big questions that I can't fully answer in a blog post, but allow me to make a few observations.

Humility starts at the cross.  Everything always comes back to the cross.  How so?  Simply put, true humility starts with an understanding of our place.  At the foot of the cross, we are all equal.  There is no class, no rich or poor, no homeless, no poverty, no celebrity, no achievements.  There is no one good, no one righteous, no one who is justified on his own.  Achievement and/or Entitlement brings pride, which is the opposite of humility.  The cross destroys ALL of man's achievements and entitlements.  God destroyed any reason for pride when he offered His gift of grace to EVERYONE.  And since that gift is available to everyone, and not just a select few, there can be no reason for pride.

A humble person "gets" all of this.  They understand that everyone they meet is a brother or sister.  The humble person knows that even though he may be the CEO of a fortune-500 company, he is no better than the janitor sweeping his floor.  In the eyes of man, maybe he's better, but in the eyes of God, the only judge that matters, they are equal.  (In fact, you could make a case that in the kingdom of God, those who have the least are actually the greatest...but that's for another blog post).

When you get all of this, not just "get it" in your head, but really, truly "get it" in your heart, it leads to actions that are humble.  It's nothing for a humble person to act in a humble way.  They have a heart that understands that in the eyes of God, there is no favoritism.


The opposite of humility is pride, and perhaps the opposite of humility acted out is un-forgiveness.  Why?  Put quite simply, when we can't forgive we forget the vast number of things that we have been forgiven of.  For this reason alone, we must forgive others, as God has forgiven us.

Perhaps I can sum things up by quoting Monica Baldwin, a niece of the then British Prime Minister, who served as a nun for 28 years.  She said of humility; "What makes humility so desirable is the marvelous thing it does to us; it creates in us a capacity for the closest possible intimacy with God."

If you struggle with pride, the answer is not to try and be more humble, but instead to spend time reflecting, remembering, meditating on all that God has done for you, and to look at everyone you meet as your equal.  And if you dare, pray to God for humility.
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)

No comments:

Labels