Saturday, September 30, 2017

You Won’t Like Humble People

            Humble people are much loved. There are two types of humble people: those who act as humble people and those who actually are humble people.

            To act humble is not to be humble. But our society loves those who act as if they are humble, whereas in reality, our society need not necessarily desire those who are actually humble. This is not a contemporary phenomenon, but an age-old fact.

            Erroneous understanding of humility is quite rampant. This post would strive to contradict artificial humility while comparing it with actual humility.  

Artificial Humility

            Those who act as if they are humble would showcase the following characteristics:

            There are the humble-brags, “I used to work with this guy who’d say things like, “My wife’s always telling me that people think I’m weird and socially awkward because i use professor-like vocabulary words instead of talking like a normal person.” Let me translate that for you: “Folks think I’m weird because I’m so stinkin’ smart!” A humble brag is the delightful technique of saying something awesome about yourself, but washing it down with a chaser of faux-criticism or depreciation.” (Emphasis Mine).1

            Then there is the holy-humble-bragging that is much preferred in our society. This holy-humble-bragging is evident in Christendom, “Sometimes when you compliment a Christian on a job well done they’ll give you this kind of response: “Oh, that was just the Lord working through me” or “All the glory goes to the Lord.” This is the Christian mash-up of not taking a compliment and holy humble bragging. It’s the worst kind of religiosity because it passes off the compliment while doubling down on self-righteousness. By acknowledging your gifts, you glorify the Lord. Humility doesn’t parade around in the skinny jeans of false piety.” (Emphasis Mine).2

            Being a doormat is another attribute of ‘acting humility.’ Those who tend to be doormats (submissive people who allow others to dominate them) are often considered humble. But a humble person will not be a doormat. People who are doormats would not hesitate to compromise the truth for a lie. Their rationale behind this despicable deed is to maintain peace at the cost of the truth.

            People who desire political correctness act as humble people. They would go to any extreme so not to offend those with power, fame and wealth. Had Christ desired to be politically correct, HE would not have offended the religious leaders of HIS time.  

Actual Humility

            The Lord Jesus was an epitome of humility (cf. Phillipians 2:1-11). HE was not the most popular person among the people of HIS time. Had HE been popular, HE would not have been crucified (cf. Luke 23:13-25). Humble people are not necessarily popular.

            Humble people do not always say nice things to everyone. Being politically correct is not innate to humility.

            The humble Lord Jesus offended the religious leaders of HIS time by calling them a brood of vipers (Matthew 12:34), whitewashed tombs (Matthew 23:27), and sons of the devil (John 8:44). Christ called his own disciples a “faithless and twisted generation” (Matthew 17:17). Paul, notwithstanding his humility, rebuked Peter (Galatians 2:11) and scolded the Galatians as “foolish” (Galatians 3:1).

            Humble people are not the only ones who are offensive. The proud people are offensive as well. There is a qualitative difference between the offensiveness of the proud and the offensiveness of the humble, “The proud offend to exalt or defend themselves and control or manipulate others. The humble offend in order to advance the truth for the glory of God and ultimate good of others. Humble offensiveness may not be popular, but it’s always loving.

            King David knew this, which is why he wrote, “Let a righteous man strike me — it is a kindness; let him rebuke me — it is oil for my head” (Psalm 141:5). His son Solomon also knew this and wrote, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6). Humility can wound and pride can kiss. Kisses may feel better than wounds — at first. But later, the wounds foster health and the kisses corruption.”3

            You would not like humble people because they are typically silent. Their silence is predicated on the fact that they are not preoccupied with themselves. Silent people are not the most desired people in our society.

            Silence, in this context, is not a reference to not speaking in a literal sense. Humble people do not brag about themselves. In an era when our society is engulfed by social media, and when millions use the social media to promote themselves, humble people would not desire to enhance their image. They would neither publicize their fame nor would they expect to receive praise from their friends and the public.

Be Humble

            So we can choose to act as humble people in order to have people love us or glorify us. Alternatively, we can wisely choose to be actually humble, so to honor and glorify God. The choice is ours.

            We are called to walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). May we do just that even at the cost of antagonizing people who may not desire to understand humility in its purity, “That’s why humble people aren’t always what we think they ought to be. They are disagreeable when truth must be valued over relational harmony. They are un-submissive when conformity mars God’s glory. And their company can be unpleasant, even undesired, when their wounding words are kinder than selfish flattery or silence.

            And this is the kind of people God is calling us to be, people who do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with him (Micah 6:8). He wants us to be absorbed in things more glorious than ourselves (Philippians 4:8), to prefer windows to mirrors (Philippians 2:3), to live counter to every culture we live in (Hebrews 11:13), and, when love requires it and it would give grace to those who hear, to be humbly offensive (Ephesians 4:29).

            To be humble people requires much grace. But the good news is that God is able to make this grace abound to us (2 Corinthians 9:8), and he offers it to us if we will receive it (James 4:6).”4

Endnotes:

1https://relevantmagazine.com/god/practical-faith/4-%E2%80%98humble%E2%80%99-things-aren%E2%80%99t-humble

2Ibid.

3http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/humility-is-not-always-nice


4Ibid.

Websites cited were last accessed on 30th September 2017.

3 comments:

Denny Benjamin said...

Spot on, annan

Robert Sands said...

This is a very straightforward and truthful statement, I wish that there was more people in this world that would think that way.

Earthen Vessels said...

The truth of the Gospel offends MOST. Thankyou for this article!