Over the last few years, many things have challenged and changed me, including, but not limited to: conversations with friends, articles written by people I respect, the Holy Spirit with Scripture, current events and my own sin. Through every painful, thankful, uncomfortable, healing moment one thing has been the same: humility is a great gift and need for me.
Humility is the only soil in which the graces root; the lack of humility is the sufficient explanation of every defect and failure. Humility is not so much a grace or virtue along with others as it is the root of all, because it alone takes the right attitude before God and allows Him as God to do all.Andrew Murray
As an adjective, humility is defined as ‘having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.’ Humility acknowledges my limitations. It gives permission to ask questions because I don’t know all the facts or life experience and beliefs of another person. It it a muscle to be strengthened and stretched in extending grace. Humility is an admission that I have empty places and need them to be filled. Jackie Hill Perry said once, “The ease of things can make us proud. Difficulty summons that neediness that only suits the humble.”
One thing that makes humility work best is that it is chosen, even imperfectly, by both people involved. A general example: If a friend asks me to do something I don’t feel confident with, and I try it and they make fun of me, that will shut me down quickly. If, however they offer love in my slowness or clumsiness, even cheer me when I make small steps of progress, I will be way more inclined to keep at it.
The person who lacks understanding chooses humility by being willing to do something poorly, and the person on the other end chooses humility by extending grace and assuming the best.
Humility teaches us to find rest in confession. Rest from the need to hide, the need to be perfect. We rest by saying, both to God and others, “I am not enough. I need help.” And ultimately, the humility that leads us to confess our brokenness, both within and without, also frees us to grieve it and throw ourselves on the mercy of God.Hannah Anderson
Humility says, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth being a beginner; it’s worth seeking understanding more than rightness; it’s worth the trial and error; it’s worth being perceived wrongly. What informs us in what is worth doing? The living and active, double-edged sword that is the Bible (Hebrews 4:12). Search its pages for yourself to learn how we are to act and what we are to be about and how we’re to live.
Treating every person as someone with dignity, beauty, and complexities with love is worth doing, and it’s worth doing clumsily and generously.
Having honest, potentially difficult or awkward conversations is worth doing, and it’s worth doing afraid.
Stepping outside a comfort zone to serve another is worth doing, and it’s worth doing unsure of yourself or in small bites.
Humility is worth it. It is a willingness to lay our reputation, image, comforts, adequacies, and habits on the altar of love for another and faithfulness to the gospel of Christ.
One last word, one I have long loved by Andrew Murray, “Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.”
Verses for further consideration:
- Colossians 3:12-13
- Philippians 2:1-11
- Psalms 25:8-9
- 1 Peter 5:5-7
- 1 Corinthians 4:6-7
- Ephesians 4:1-3
Also, if you could use a little uplift for your soul, this song.