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I'm Wearing Humble and it Looks Good On Me
(A door slams shut as two
humble people reach for the handle)
Servant A: “Pardon me; let me get that for you”,
Servant B: “Heavens no, please
allow me to get the
door for YOU instead”
(Ten minutes pass as voices
rise and an argument ensues)
Servant A: “I’m telling you
for the last time;
get out of the way
and let go of that handle!”
Servant B: “No sir-ee,
I’m not letting
you show me up, I’ve been a
servant all my life,
and not even a good one,
so I know you are better
than me,you let go of that
handle right now so
I can open it for you.”
Servant A: ”Just who do you
think you are? I’m the servant
of a servant’s servant,
so I guess my lowliness
trumps yours!I’m opening
that door for you
if it’s the last thing
I do buddy, even if it
takes me all night"
(A young girl walks up and opens door, props it open with a
rock then walks inside…)
Servant A: “Gee, I sure feel silly, please forgive me”,
Servant B: “No, it’s my fault, please forgive me…
I was being selfish, you go ahead, enter first”,
Servant A: “What? Perish the thought, I wouldn’t hear of it,
I insist you enter first, I’ll go in last!”
[The characters portrayed here are strictly fictitious; any similarity to me, you, or others either of us know in real life is purely coincidental. S.Gonzalez 2010]
Seems a little silly doesn’t it; however ridiculous, humility can make us do the strangest things. We are required to prefer others above ourselves; encouraged to seek the lowest seat in hopes of being invited to a better one(Luke 14:7-11); and commanded to develop a sense of lowliness and meekness that often leads to grace, exalted position, and favor. On the surface this seems contradictory. It almost feels like an unspoken rule to act humble in hopes of getting something better than the other guy. (Jam 4:10, Prov. 24:12)
Let’s be honest with ourselves, to “act” humble requires either pretending to be humble or convincing ourselves we are humble. In both of these situations there is a possibility that it would not be a heartfelt sentiment. So which is it? Do we “act” humble or just tell ourselves over and again: “remember, they are better than you”?
Like the call to renew one’s own mind (Romans 12:2), it’s often necessary to develop, on purpose and with conscious effort, new thoughts and choices that may be different than our nature. It is also natural for most emotionally healthy individuals to desire to get, gain, and glory in our own wonderful uniqueness. In fact to love my neighbor as ‘myself’ requires that I first love myself. The truism “hurting people hurt others” is a great example of what happens when one does not have a healthy love for themselves.
***WARNING: Get ready humble people, this may feel
uncomfortable for a moment, Talk of SELF ESTEEM
Coming just up ahead***
With this in mind, it is an easy adjustment to understand the concept that ‘acting’ humble is not false humility, but a conscious effort to act as we have been commanded by Jesus. I absolutely love the fact that Jesus knows all too well that we selfish humans, who love ourselves as is only natural, will usually gravitate towards the most base and humanistic selfish vain glory. This is due in part to the fact 'we like who God has made us to be'.
Yet, If left unchecked, it can easily turn into pride and self worship. This why we are called to remember: as wonderful, talented, gifted, beautiful or blessed as God has made us; HE made us. We are His creation. When all is said and done, we don’t own the patent, we’re just entrusted with holding it a while (take that selfish pride!)
It's Hard to Be Humble
People who like who they are often want the best for themselves. What a concept then… The way you feel about yourself…that’s how Jesus is asking us to treat the other guy… Love them as you do yourself.
Remember though, this is very different from pride which exalts itself and says “I don’t need God and He doesn’t deserve my reverence, respect or attention.” I’m describing a thankfulness and appreciation for something He created: You.
So, rather than asking us to despise one of Gods’ best gifts to the world (YOU), He asks that we make a conscious choice to give preference to others in our daily dealings with them. Treat the other person like we prefer them… Not hate ourselves, just ‘act’ in a way that says, “You are worth loving”.
Then a surprise ending, when you do this He will see to it that your obedience to His command will produce unity, peace, favor, and guess what’s next; that’s right, you get just what you were desiring all along… to sit in the best seat, and don’t worry, He already knows you’ve been eyeing it all along (Luke 14:7-11).