Humility is one of those core virtues that we hate to learn but love to possess. That’s because learning humility is too often, well, humiliating.
Last year provided many opportunities for me to grow in humility. A pointed quote from Mark Driscoll helped kick start the process: “When we preach the gospel, we must call sinners to repent of their sin and religious people to repent of their righteousness.”
Here’s one way this plays out in my life. I’ve noticed that once I’ve been leading something for a while I develop a certain intuition or instinct about how things should be done and how people will respond in certain situations. That’s good. The bad part is that I can begin to look down on others who don’t possess that same sense of intuition, or don’t see the same problems I see, or those who aren’t moving at a fast enough pace, or… you get the idea.
The Dead Giveaway
When I begin looking down on others for whatever reason, I cluck. This cluck is something my mouth does involuntarily. It’s probably imperceptible to most people. But I know I’m doing it. It’s a disdainful smack that reeks of contempt. I hate to admit it. It’s not like I do it everyday, but it happens often enough that I realize it’s an issue of the heart. I’m telling you because this is a growth area for me. And it’s a bit humiliating.
In the gospels Jesus spent a lot of time talking about people who clucked and looked down on others. He did not view them kindly. They were the Pharisees, the best leaders that organized religion had to offer. Jesus called them to repent of thinking their way was better than others. He called them to humility.
The apostle Paul, a Pharisee of Pharisees who experienced God’s amazing grace, offered this cure for clucking:
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Romans 12:3)
Where are you growing in humility (or humiliation)?