Monday, May 14, 2012
Humility has not come naturally to me.
I was an early overachiever in many ways - athletically, academically, vocationally, and romantically.
Of course, while intellectually and physically, uh, up, uh, for it, I was not emotionally and spiritually mature enough to honor Him through the charismata/opportunities entrusted to me.
Simply, I mismanaged the charismata and squandered so many opportunities for so long and mourn how I coulda and shoulda if I woulda...
Yeah, He's forgiven me.
That's the gospel that includes even me.
Yeah, there are some folks, even a son or two, who haven't forgiven me.
That's their problem now a la Matthew 6:14-15; which is acknowledged with more sadness for their souls than rationalizations for mine.
And while I've come a long way despite feeling/knowing I'm just now scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus and learning how to love Him by loving like Him, I can still be as arrogant, condescending, and egotistical as the worst of 'em.
It's something I've learned painfully: "If you think you've arrived, it's time to start over."
Send $10 and I'll send a book on that to you.
Here's the deal - covenantal if you know what He means.
Humility, like any true evidence/proof/fruit of being tight with F/S/HS (see Galatians 5:16-26), cannot be earned/learned by degrees, workshops, seminars, therapy, or anything/anyone other than increasing intimacy with God through Jesus as enabled by the Holy Spirit.
Evidence/proof/fruit of being tight with F/S/HS just happens supernaturally when we hang out with Him.
Get closer to Him and then you/me/we/they/anyone will begin to look like, uh, it/Him.
Putting it another way, it doesn't happen through "Simple Simon" rubrics, ceremonies, rituals, and collective rites aka religion but through an increasingly authentic relationship with Him that happens by just, as He put it, tarrying with Him.
Again, getting closer to Jesus always results in talking/walking more like Jesus.
It's that simple...and difficult.
Increasing humility enables increasing humility before Him enabling increasing humility in all relationships as evidence/proof/fruit of increasing humility in relationship with Him.
Or something like that.
I like how John Dickson defines it in Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership (2011): "...the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself...you could say the humble person is marked by a willingness to hold power in service of others."
Paul: "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought."
Humility includes recognizing our dependence upon F/S/HS for all things here and hereafter.
It includes recognizing our interdependence within His family to maintain/increase health in the Church (see Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12).
The humble person is no more nor no less important than anyone else because everyone is interdependent in dependence upon F/S/HS.
Corporate health - global, national, local, and, uh, ecclesiastical - depends upon that kinda individual humility.
Dickson: "The most influential and inspiring people are often marked by humility...Humility is holding your power - whether physical, financial, intellectual, or political - for the good of others, not personal gain."
Humility is integral to individual and corporate health.
Humility fuels/heals relationships.
Case in point.
Though I've got my own problems, I'm often asked to mediate church/pastor conflicts.
I can't imagine the pain felt by our Lord over churches/pastors who hate each other in a Christian kinda way.
Why would anyone looking for peace and calm and a safe haven from the meanness, madness, and misery of life in the modern world turn to churches that are filled with tension, contention, and the like?
Yeah, people just can't wait to become parts of such dissonant dysfunction.
Well, I've consulted with one church in which members sued each other over...
I'll never forget talking to a sage in that church who said the solution to their/our problems was/is so facile: "If folks exercised just a little humility in their relationships with each other..."
The twelve words that save marriages can revive/restore lots of relationships: "I was wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you."
Of course, that requires humility; and humility doesn't come natural to more people than just me.
Read the preceding again.
Dickson: "There is an obvious conundrum facing the writer and readers of a book on humility. Does the author think he has attained this difficult virtue?...Both the arrogant and the humble are unlikely to think of themselves as humble."
Interesting recollection from Dickson: "I will never forget the comment of my best friend...when I told him I was involved in research...on...humility. He quipped, 'Well, John, at least you have the objective distance from the subject!'"
I think of a friend who can be as arrogant, condescending, and egotistical as me but will never admit it because, uh, he likes to play the role of humble pastor without being one.
He sells but nobody buys.
When asked about him, I said, "The only difference between him and me is I know I'm a hypocrite."
Inquirer: "If you know you're a hypocrite, that means you aren't one."
Me: "Obviously, you don't know me well."
I struggle with humility because it doesn't come natural to me or, uh, anybody else.
It can only begin to happen as we increase our intimacy with Him.
Here's the real hard part of the deal/covenant.
God builds up the humble and pulls/pushes down the proud from their athletic, academic, vocational, romantic, and otherwise arrogant, condescending, and egotistical perches.
And that ain't ever gonna stop until I'm totally dependent upon Him and gleefully interdependent upon others as a big part of my dependence upon Him.
Pass another piece of that pie before He force-feeds me...again.
Blessings and Love!