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Humility

Submitted by martinleech on Tue, 26/01/2021 - 12:09

The Oxford English Dictionary defines humility as 'The quality of being humble or having a lowly opinion of oneself; meekness, lowliness, humbleness: the opposite of pride or haughtiness.' It is a quality that bears thinking about. We are generally not encouraged to have 'lowly' opinions of ourselves, rather the opposite. Even from a young age people today are more likely to be taught to regard themselves as special, talented and to set their sights high...

Without doubt, human life is special - but one human being is not more special than another. Not everyone succeeds in reaching the heights; for winners there will also be losers; there is success and there is failure. We all too easily fuel the pride that lies right at the core of our nature. We think more highly of ourselves than of others. But we also find that such pride easily gives rise to disappointment, division, discrimination and, paradoxically, a sense of personal inadequacy and failure as we fall short.

Humility is often equated with having having low self-esteem and is therefore regarded as a harmful quality. Actually, humility is more about having an honest and realistic view of self as a human being. It is a recognition of personal frailty, dependence and limitation. There's nothing wrong with that - the only person who has no frailty, dependence or limitation is God. Ultimately, humility is about recognising that I am a created being, given many qualities and powers, but I am not God. Humility is about having a right opinion of self in the light of who God is and, above all, of coming to realise that I am truly dependent upon God and in absolute need of Him. Wonderfully, in the New Testament we can read of how God in the person of His Son Jesus Christ humbled Himself to be the Saviour proud sinners need.