I heard a golden oldie the other day and it started me thinking about this humility thing. It’s not the first time I’ve posted on this topic, but sometimes reminders are good…especially during this time of what appears to be abuse of power on the world stage.
C.S. Lewis, author of Chronicles of Narnia, drew this conclusion about the topic: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
James 4:10 reads: Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.
2 Chronicles 7:14 reads: If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
And that golden oldie? It was a 1974 hit of Mac Davis singing, in part: Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble but I’m doing the best that I can.
In my humble opinion humility is a strength rather than a weakness.
Yesterday, a tradesman came by to give me a quote on something needing repair. His attitude was one of superiority and arrogance. No matter the price of the job, do you think he is going to get my business?
It is said that arrogance is a personality trait forged in childhood. If so, like many childhood traits, this lesser part of our personalities needs to be done away with and replaced with a dash of humility.
If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Our land does need healing and so does that contractor’s attitude. In a world needing compassion and understanding more than anything else there is no place for arrogance.
Breathe on us breath of God as we welcome your Holy Spirit into our hearts.
Make us aware that talking about you is not the same as talking to you. Help us to do both.
Help us to overcome the obstacles that prevent us from enjoying a relationship with you.
Help us to trust you with the problems we face and the decisions we make.
When we are depressed and anxious help us to feel your love, peace, and presence.
When we lose our sense of compassion, remind us of your compassion for us.
Make us humble enough to know that without you we are incomplete.
Remind us to pray for one another that you would replace our grief with peace, our sickness with healing, our poverty with prosperity, and our self centeredness with thoughts of others.
Grant us the grace to live this day in your strength. Amen.
Life is full of ups and downs, and riding life’s roller coaster can be exhilarating while taking time out to sail a still lake will soothe the soul. Either way it is still a beautiful life. Happy Saturday.
Just like patience, forgiveness, tolerance, and other virtues, humility needs a lot of work. It’s not always easy to put someone else’s feelings ahead of our own, or to stay quiet when we want to correct someone. It’s definitely difficult for some to acknowledge that the creator of the universe is deserving of a bowed knee, and an outstretched hand.
Here are a few quotes on humility:
True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity
There is no respect for others without humility in one’s self. Henri Frederic Amie
It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. Saint Augustine
Self praise is no recommendation. Romanian (on flattery and praise)
Be the change you wish to see in the world. Ghandi
“A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.” Alexander Pope
…but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2
And now for a little humble humor from Mac Davis and the Muppets
Today, (I’m writing this on Sunday evening), I was challenged to take our choir’s anthem, “What Does the Lord Require?” and blog about it. The song comes from a scripture: Micah 6:8: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
So, here’s the challenge. How about if we ask what we require of each other.
Would we not require justice as defined in the Mirriam-Webster dictionary: the quality of being just, impartial, or fair.
Would we require kindness? Wikipedia says this about kindness: Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern for others.
And if we don’t believe in walking humbly with our God, would we not at least want to walk humbly with each other? I experienced walking humbly in Whistler just over a week ago when due to deep snow and icy conditions, my steps were guided by my daughter and daughter-in-law, one on either side of me.
Walking humbly with each other takes on the characteristics of protecting from hurts, offering comfort, being supportive, forgetting self while uplifting others…these are just some of the ways we can walk humbly with others.
Today I was required to accept a challenge and it makes me happy to know that there are many ways to look at words, whether they are in a song, sermon, scripture or sentence, and humbly learn a lesson from them. Are you up to the challenge of doing justice, loving kindness and humbly walking with your God or your fellow people? I believe that most people do so on a daily basis…and those who don’t?
Why did Jesus weep? Was it because his friend Lazarus had died? I don’t think so, because Jesus knew that he was going to bring Lazarus back to life. No, I’m sure it was because Mary and Martha, their friends, and even the disciples, after everything they had seen of Jesus performing countless miracles, still did not believe in him.
Jesus had many reasons to weep throughout his short ministry, and even to this day.
He weeps when he sees one human being beheading another. He weeps when we fly airplanes into tall buildings, killing thousands of innocent people. He weeps when bullets are pumped into human bodies by their fellow man. He weeps when his name is trashed; used as a curse instead of a blessing. He weeps when he reaches out to us and we turn our backs on him, or ridicule him, or deny his very existence. He weeps when we lose patience with family and friends, and when we fail to offer kindness and understanding instead of derogatory remarks. He weeps when lives are lost to cancer, humility is lost to vanity, and his love is tossed to the winds, instead of being embraced by humanity, to whom he freely gives.
John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible…just two words: Jesus wept. Two words to show the true compassion of the greatest man who ever lived.
It’s enough to make me cry.
The first prayer from the book, Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To is, “God, show me that you exist.” Here is an excerpt from chapter one, I Wish I Could Believe:
Does God exist? Can there be a simpler yet more important question in all the universe? Can there be one that has been the source of more mental anguish and emotional confusion in the history of mankind? It’s ironic that a question that so many people struggle with is also one that can be most easily answered by God when we put it into the form of a prayer. For when we lift our minds and hearts in humility and say to God: “Please show me that you exist…Give me some sign that you are really up there somewhere” he is only too happy to respond–sometimes with a speed that can astound us.
And that’s what happened to me in my twenty-third year. I had been a believer since I was four years old, but as happens with some of us, life gets in the way of our beliefs, causing us to either forget about God altogether or give him very little of our time. I remember going through a very difficult time both physically and spiritually after the birth of my fourth child. One day, I stood stock still in my tiny little kitchen, surrounded by three little ones and a brand new baby, feeling completely overwhelmed. Suddenly, I cried out, “God, where are you? If you exist, please give me a sign!” Shortly afterwards…like about twenty minutes…a knock came to the door. There stood two Jehovah’s Witnesses wanting to talk to me about God. They held up one of their magazines with GOD in bold letters, but I didn’t pay any attention to the rest of the message, and shooed them away, being busy with my family at that precise moment.
It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized that I had closed the door on what was probably God’s sign to me that he does exist. “Was that my sign?” I wondered. Maybe yes, maybe no, but to this day I firmly believe that it was a very quickly answered prayer. “Yes, Patricia, I am here.”
Tomorrow: Why Should I Get Involved? … God, Make Me an Instrument