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The triumph of humility

Posted on Mon, May 28, 2007

Misrepresentation of our true selves by other people is rampant and will never cease because people who judge others are very limited in knowledge of the people they judge. No one should judge another. We often have notions of others that are not really true. Faced with this, we need to pray that God will help our accusers. And we should forgive them too, for minimizing our virtues. We are special people for whom King Jesus died. He loves and knows us better. Thus, we should have better estimation of ourselves based on what God says and not on man's limited understanding from which he often shoots out his bullets of condemnations.

The triumph of humility

“Humility or humbleness is a quality of being courteously respectful of others. It is the opposite of aggressiveness, arrogance, boastfulness, and vanity. Rather than, "Me first," humility allows us to say, "No, you first, my friend." Humility is the quality that lets us go more than halfway to meet the needs and demands of others.

Humility as a virtue is a major theme of both the Old and New Testaments. Why do qualities such as courtesy, patience and deference have such a prominent place in the Bible? It is because a demeanor of humility is exactly what is needed to live in peace and harmony with all persons. Humility dissipates anger and heals old wounds. Humility allows us to see the dignity and worth of all God's people.

Humility distinguishes the wise leader from the arrogant power-seeker. Acting with humility does not in any way deny our own self worth. Rather, it affirms the inherent worth of all persons. Some would consider humility to be a psychological malady that interferes with "success." However, wealth, power or status gained at the expense of others brings only anxiety -- never peace and love.

There are many examples of humble people in the bible. Moses is described as the meekest man – Numbers 12:3 – John the Baptist asked to decrease while Jesus Christ should increase (John 3:30) -- “John was fully satisfied with the place and work assigned him; but Jesus came on a more important work. He also knew that Jesus would increase in honour and influence, for of his government and peace there would be no end, while he himself would be less followed. John knew that Jesus came from heaven as the Son of God, while he was a sinful, mortal man, who could only speak about the more plain subjects of religion. The words of Jesus were the words of God; he had the Spirit, not by measure, as the prophets, but in all fullness.

” There is no one in recorded history that can compare with Jesus Christ in humility. In His birth; though a king; He was born in a manger; in His lifestyle, He said of himself, “The son of man has no place to lay His head.” In His death, He was buried in a borrowed tomb. He came from heaven, lived like a man and partook in all pains and sorrows, yet He excelled humbly, in all things without a fault.

Jesus is the personification of humility: See what is written about Him in Isaiah 53, Hebrews 12, and Philippians 2. Here we see that where there is a purpose and a goal, being humble is possible and very easy because humility becomes goal-driven. That was why Jesus despised the shame He suffered for the reason of joy which was His goal (that was set before Him).

Humility means putting God and other persons ahead of our own selfish interests. Humility comes with the knowledge that God's creation as a whole transcends our own narrow interests. "Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.” (NIV, Proverbs 22:4) "But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. (NAS, Matthew 23:11-12) "And [Jesus] called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." ”Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (NAS, Matthew 18:2-4).

Sometimes we get angry because we are wrongly estimated or lowly rated. No one makes us angry. It is all too easy to react to life's annoyances and disappointments with anger. It is far more challenging, but much better, to react with understanding and empathy. In this way, we can quickly settle disputes and avoid turning minor incidents into major battles. The humble demeanor is a perfect tool for avoiding disputes and hard feelings.

Anger is our own emotional response to some action or event. More often than not, our angry feelings are based on a misinterpretation of what someone said or did. Expressing anger tends to prolong and reinforce our anger rather than purge it. Angry words and actions are much more likely to escalate hostilities and block communication than to solve a problem. Whether between parent and child, spouses, friends, or nations, expressions of anger divide us and drive us toward open hostility.

Misrepresentation of our true selves by other people is rampant and will never cease because people who judge others are very limited in knowledge of the people they judge. No one should judge another. "Don't criticize, and then you won't be criticized. For others will treat you as you treat them. And why worry about a speck in the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own? Should you say, 'Friend, let me help you get that speck out of your eye,' when you can't even see because of the board in your own? Hypocrite! First get rid of the board. Then you can see to help your brother. “(TLB, Matthew 7:1-5).

Don't criticize and speak evil about each other, dear brothers. If you do, you will be fighting against God's law of loving one another, declaring it is wrong. But your job is not to decide whether this law is right or wrong, but to obey it. Only he who made the law can rightly judge among us. He alone decides to save us or destroy. So what right do you have to judge or criticize others? (TLB, James 4:11-12).

Often those who rate others lowly have ill-informed notions of the people they slide. Faced with this, we need to pray that God will help our accusers. And we should forgive them too, for minimizing our virtues. We are special to God. No position in all creation is greater than where we are in Christ. We are the apple of God’s eyes, we are royal children to Him; we are uniquely chosen by Him, created in Christ for His glory and we are peculiar. God loves us very dearly. Therefore, we should have better estimation of ourselves based on what God says about us and not on man’s limited knowledge of us. So next time someone speaks evil of you, remember that the person does not know you as God, your father does. But be sure that the adverse comment is false; else, you must accept it gracefully and thank God for electing to allow someone a little glimpse of you to expose your fault. In that instance, He wants you to get right with Him. And you should repent, pray and believe Him for your forgiveness.

Allow humility to triumph where anger was intended - where injury was intended, where malice was intended, where jealousy and every evil acts were intended - again allow humility to triumph, and you will be a child of God - Who causes rain to fall for both the "good and the bad." "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (NIV, James 1:19-20).

 Holding a grudge can consume us with hatred, blocking out all enjoyment of life. A grudge clouds our judgment and may lead us to an act of revenge that can never be undone. "'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD." (NIV, Leviticus 19:18) "An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins." (NIV, Proverbs 29:22).

Bearing a grudge and seeking revenge are never appropriate responses to a perceived wrong. A grudge destroys the grudge-holder with bitterness; revenge only escalates hostilities. Jesus told us we must reconcile with our adversaries, forgive their transgressions, and let go of the anger that may tempt us to commit an act of revenge: "Under the laws of Moses the rule was, 'If you murder, you must die.' But I have added to that rule and tell you that if you are only angry, even in your own home, you are in danger of judgment! If you call your friend an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse him, you are in danger of the fires of hell. “(TLB, Matthew 5:21-22).

Returning love for hatred can often cool the fires of anger. It is very difficult not to respond to anger with even more anger. However, when we respond to anger with empathy and love, we can often break the cycle of hatred and convert even our enemies into friends. Jesus gave us the unique command to love even our enemies: "There is a saying, 'Love your friends and hate your enemies.' But I say: Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even scoundrels do that much. If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the heathen do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (TLB, Matthew 5:43-48). Stay blessed.

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