Much To Be Humble About

Winston Churchill was the master of the quick putdown.  Once, when talking about a political opponent, the gruff  British Prime Minister quipped, "“He's a humble man with much to be humble about.”

Good one.  

Humility is rarely valued in our society.    Humble voices are not esteemed in politics.  Or on social media.  You don't wind up cast on a "Real Housewives" show because you are courteous, gentle, and respectful.    

Humility doesn't play well on talk-radio.

It doesn't come naturally to many of us.  I remember as a young reporter arguing with another journalist over the facts of a story we were both covering.  I was right.  She was wrong.  Until I went back and checked my notes.  Even after realizing my mistake, confessing my error did not come naturally.

The Bible esteems humility.  And so should we.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.   Proverbs 11:2

Pride makes us blind.  It prevents us from seeing reality.

But how does humility beget wisdom?

  • Humility acknowledges I may not have all the facts
  • Humility accepts that other people may have greater experience than I do with a particular issue
  • Humility recognizes that I am occasionally wrong and may have blind spots
  • Humility helps me to understand that other people have played a role in my success.  
  • Humility promotes life-long learning when we recognize our limited knowledge
  • Humility pushes back against our own biases
  • Humility helps us to see ourselves properly, as beloved children of a God who is greater that ourselves

In these contentious times, we as God's Kingdom people need to set an example in humility.  In our conversations.  In our relationships.  In our politics.  In our service to others.

Here are some questions I have been asking myself when engaging with people I disagree with: Are there areas of agreement between us that I may have overlooked?  Might they have more personal experience with certain aspects of our topic? Do I have unfair biases that may be impacting my position? What, if anything, does God's word say about this topic?

We have real, important, topics that are dividing us as a society.  A devotion to Christlike morality, and a strong Biblical ethic, will mean there are some topics we simply cannot agree on with prevailing culture.  But even in disagreement, the Christian should always engage the conversation from a position of humility and kindness.

I like what J.I. Packer has said,

"Not until we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God's holiness and sovereignty. acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts, and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours."    

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