Friday, December 29, 2006

Humility

I have been reading a couple books that have taught me much about the topic of humility. They have dispelled some of the myths and really made it an admirable trait that I would like to pursue. One of the greatest problems with the pursuit of humility is that it can quickly lead to pride over one's newly-found humility.

One of the books was A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. It is about a Jewish/Christian girl in the 70's C.E. who was taken from Jerusalem and made a household slave in Rome. She exemplifies such a servant attitude, even when it is not demanded of her, that others wonder at her peace. She has nothing left, yet she gives all she has. This is where I would love my heart to be.

The other book is The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. It is about a upper-level (or lower-level as the case may be) demon named Screwtape who writes letters to his nephew Wormwood who is just learning the ropes. It is a great view into the nature of temptation. Chapter 14 is on the topic of humility and had some very insightful quotes, which I will share.

"Catch him at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, 'By jove! I'm being humble', and almost immediately pride--pride at his own humility--will appear.

"Let him think of [humility] not as self-forgetfulness but as a certain kind of opinion (namely, a low opinion) of his own talents and character. . . Fix in his mind the idea that humility consists in trying to believe those talents to be less valuable than he believes them to be. . . By this method thousands of humans have been brought to think that humility means pretty women trying to believe they are ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools.

"[God] wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another.

"[God] wants to kill their animal self-love as soon as possible; but it is His long-term policy, I fear, to restore them a new kind of self-love--a charity and gratitude for all selves, including their own; when they have really learned to love their neighbours as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbours."

I found these to be powerful reminders of the heart that God calls us to have. Humble, but not self-deprecating--having the ability to appreciate others' accomplishments as much as your own. Humility is loving your neighbor as yourself--still loving both your neighbor and yourself.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. I like to think of humility as the active awareness that we have a lot to learn from each other and a duty to try to learn all we can. Your post is very helpful to me. Thanks. Sandy

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