The Power of Humility by Rev. Shine.P Thomas
Do you believe there is Power in Humility?
How do people see you in your family and in the society?
How do people see you in your family and in the society? Are you considered friendly, lovable, confidential, and warm, or are we known for the wrong reasons? The world functions on the principle of anger, hatred, ego, pride etc. However, this is not the way we are supposed to live our lives. When God created us he also gave us his virtue ‘love’ to relate to in our relationships.
A teacher asked one of her primary students to describe Salt. “Well, um, its…,” he started, then stopped. He tried again. “Salt is, you know, its…” Finally he said, “Salt is what makes French fries taste bad when you don’t sprinkle it on.” Many foods are like that…incomplete without a key ingredient. Imagine pizza without cheese etc. Love is one of the essential ingredients of our Christian life.
Today I want to talk on one particular aspect of love
1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
The word “boast” means “to brag, to show-off, to parade itself.
Paul has just said that love does not envy and is not jealous. Then he says ‘love does not boast.’ Bragging is the other side of jealousy. Jealousy is to want what someone else has. Bragging is trying to make others jealous of what we have.
Jealousy puts others down; bragging lifts us up. Everyone else, including God must therefore be of less importance to us. In simple words it is pride that makes us boast our ego. The true power of love is humility.
At a World Conference, the heads of all countries were boasting about their technical advancement. So they all decided that to prove their boasts, each country should show an engineering feat to the world. In a few days, the U.S.A made a hollow tube of fibreglass, 1 mm in diameter. It was then sent to Russia. The Russians put a conducting wire in the tube. It was sent to Japan. The Japanese, to prove their superiority, bored a hole through the wire. Finally, it was sent to India. It came back without any apparent change. “Well, what have you done?” asked everybody. “Look here,” said the Indian, putting the wire under a microscope. Clearly visible were the words “Made in India.”
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.
Muhammad Ali, the great wrestler was never known for being a kind person. Once he was on an airplane and he often said, “I’m the greatest.” The airhostesses looked at him and saw he didn’t have his seatbelt fastened. She said to him, “Mr. Ali, you’ll have to fasten your seatbelt.” Ali responded, “Superman don’t need seatbelt.” The hostess then replied, “Superman don’t need airplane either.”
Now, look at William Carey, often referred to as the father of the modern missionary movement. He was a brilliant man but came from a very humble beginning. In his early manhood, he worked as a cobbler, a shoe repairman. At a dinner party one evening a man said to Carey, “I understand, Mister Carey that you once worked as a shoemaker.” “Oh, no, your lord,” Carey replied, “I was not a shoemaker, only a shoe repairman.”
When Jesus began to preach He soon overshadowed the ministry of John the Baptist. Yet, John spoke of Him as
He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.
When John’s disciples later become jealous of Jesus’ popularity, John rebuked them saying,
He must increase, but I must decrease.
A loving person does not brag on himself; yet, we have all done it. We pride about our accomplishments, our possessions, our ability, and of course our children. Almost all of us struggle with this sin. When we read both OT and the NT, you will find many different catalogs of sin, but the sin of pride finds its way to the top of the list. Proverbs lists seven things God hates. At the top of the list is a “proud look.”
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood….
God opposes the proud, but shows grace to the humble.
We often point out big sins like adultery, addictions, idol worship etc. Do you know that pride is a sin that is equally grave and hidden that hinder our relationship with God and others around. Sadly pride is overlooked by Christians and it affects our relationships.
Proud people are usually always judgemental. People who are proud will always want their way but the moment they are hurt they soon become judgemental. Unaware to them such talks causes a lot of misunderstanding in relationships. They will start judging their husband, wife, colleague, friends etc and soon they talk to their contact causing misunderstanding either in the family, work or in the society.
Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Such people feel that they know everything, they never make mistakes. They are never wrong, so they are judgemental. They never really listen to anybody else because they already know all the answers.
A 10th standard dropout took a first aid course, and was so proud of his accomplishment in completing it. Soon as he was travelling, he came upon an accident in which a person was injured. He rushed over to where the injured person was being attended to by a woman, and took charge. He shoved everybody aside, including the woman, and said, “Give me room. I’ve just finished a first aid course and I know what to do.” He knelt down beside the injured person and started doing what he could. The woman he had pushed away stood there a few moments and then said, “When you get to that point in your first aid training where it says, “Call the doctor, I’ll be right here.”
There are times when pride judges, creates misunderstanding, lack of consideration, and appreciation for others.
b. Pride provokes arguments
Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
A husband and wife were involved in a petty argument, both of them unwilling to admit they might be in error. “I’ll admit I’m wrong,” the wife told her husband in a conciliatory attempt, “if you’ll admit I’m right.” He agreed and, like a gentleman, insisted she go first. “I’m wrong,” she said. With a twinkle in his eye, he responded, “You’re right!”
If you try to understand why people argue, mostly it is the result of someone’s wounded pride. Something was said or was done, something was perceived as an offence to someone’s ego and they get angry and quarrel.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Proud people find it very difficult to adjust with people of low position. The always want to be with the elite or powerful.
d. Pride postpones reconciliation
If people are proud, then they aren’t willing to back down or compromise or find a common ground where agreement can be found. So reconciliation simply doesn’t take place.
Cliff Barrows says that there are 12 words that are absolutely essential for a good marriage. Here they are: I was wrong, I am sorry, Please forgive me, I love you. Any relationship he says has to have those 12 words in it or it simply won’t work.
If you have a husband who is so proud that he will never say, “I was wrong,” & you have a wife who is so proud that she will never say, “I’m sorry,” and if you have children who are so proud that they will never say, “Please forgive me,” then you have a family where no one is saying, “I love you” to each other. And that relationship simply can’t work.
A person who is proud avoids meeting people because they do not want to reconcile. They avoid public gatherings like weddings, meetings, church sometimes all because they are having a grudge. After sometime they forget what the grudge is all about but all they remember is their hurt ego, pride.
There were two brothers who lived on adjoining farms, but they had a deep quarrel. They had often shared their resources, but that practice stopped; and there was nothing left but bitterness. One day the younger brother hired a bulldozer and built a creek between the two properties. In a few days the older brother took the carpenter to where the two properties met and showed him how the other brother had taken a bulldozer and created a creek where the meadow used to be. John said, “I know he did this to make me angry. I want you to help me get even by building a big fence so I won’t have to see him or his property ever again.”
So the carpenter worked hard all day. When he reported back to John, John noticed there was no fence. The carpenter had used his skill and built a bridge over the creek instead of a fence. John’s brother saw the bridge and was quite moved that his brother would do such a thing. The two brothers met in the middle and embraced. They saw the carpenter packing his tools and asked him to stay a while and do more work. The carpenter replied, “I’m sorry, but I have other bridges to build.” Does he have one to build in your life?
You see, it is not the offence or the misunderstanding that is preventing us from reconciliation. Things can be talked out, apologized, and reconciled. Pride is what keeps us away most of the times. We wait for the other person to take the move.
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them find mercy.
Steps in Developing Humility
But even though we may reach the conclusion that we need to develop humility, I don’t think it will come easily for most of us. So here are some steps that might help us get there.
a. Acknowledging our mortality will Develop Humility
The length of our days is seventy years or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
It seems like only yesterday we were young and all of a sudden life is moving fast, very fast. So understand that we are mere mortal beings.
The Bible teaches that our bodies are made out of the dust of the ground, and that one of these days they will return to the dust. It’s humbling, isn’t it, to realize that the bodies that you and I pamper and care and admire, our personality that we are proud of will someday be nothing more than part of the earth that people walk on and weeds grow?
A hundred years from now, for most of us, no one will even remember our names. So the first step to developing humility is to remember our mortality.
b. Remember our fallibility
Understand we make mistakes. We’re not infallible. We make decisions that are wrong. Say things that are stupid. We do things that are embarrassing. We are all imperfect, accept it, but most of the time we act as if we are the Mr. or Ms. Perfect.
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?
God is not criticising us here. God knows that we are imperfect and he wants us to realize it. The real problem is getting us to accept that we all can commit mistakes.
There is a story about a guy who went to a musical. And while the soprano was singing he turned to the man sitting next to him and said, “That’s horrible. That is really bad.” The man said, “That’s my wife.” Quickly the guy said, “Oh, her voice is just fine. I wasn’t talking about that. It’s the material. The song she is singing is terrible. It’s just not right for her.” The man said, “I wrote it.”
I admire apostle Paul because all throughout his ministry, he never glosses over his past, his education or his background. Again and again he reminds himself and us, “I am the chief of sinners, saved by the grace of God.”
I think it is all right to feel good about ourselves. I think it is okay to consider your accomplishments. But every once in a while we need to stop and remember our fallibility. It will help us develop proper humility.
c. Developing Servant-hood will develop Humility
The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.
It is hard for me to understand how people can be Christians for 10 or 15 years and still be a “servee” & not a “server.” How can we claim that we’re followers of Jesus Christ who picked up a basin of water and washed His apostles’ feet? How can we say we’re His followers and we’re still waiting to be served?
You see, the only way we can finally begin to develop the virtue of humility is by becoming a servant, by learning servanthood.
I heard the real story of a 32-year-old man, Chris Carrier who used to visit a nursing home every day and read the Bible for an invalid 77-year-old man who was blind. Chris only knew this old man during a few days when he was 10 years old. The old man had kidnapped Chris at a bus stop, kept him for days, and left him for dead with cigarette burns on his body and a gunshot wound that left him blind in the other eye.
When Chris was asked how he could possibly stand to be around his kidnapper, to look at the man who had so brutally tried to murder him years ago, Chris said, `I don’t see a…murderer. I see a man, very old, very alone, and very scared.’
That’s servanthood at its best! That is what is love. That is what humility is.
God can fill us with His Humility
This is the kind of love the Bible is talking about that can make a differences in so many good ways, and it can make a difference in our families, in our neighborhood, in our nation and so much more. It is patient and kind, does not boast and it is not proud. And it can turn our world upside down.
Let’s take a look at our lives. Am I boastful?, argumentative and judgmental? Am I unforgiving? Ask God to fill us with his love and humility.