Humbleness

You’ll Never Stop the Rain From Falling On Your Head By Complaining

Ed, my neighbor next door, and I had a brief chat about humility last week. Humbleness, in Ed’s view, means weakness, being too concerned with the opinions of others. A humble person according to Ed did not have a strong enough estimation of his importance. Ed told me that he did not care what others thought about him. “Most folks cannot impress me,” Ed said, “They all have something wrong with them if I look at them close enough.” My neighbor claimed that he was too busy to notice others, unless he had to pay attention to them. Those that Ed mentioned that he had to pay attention to were his doctor, his banker and anyone pointing a gun at him. Then he added one more, his wife Ruby, when supper is ready. My neighbor added that he didn’t expect rain drops to stop falling on his head by his complaining, but because he got out of the rain. Ed advised, “Some people are quick to whine to you how they have been humiliated, despised, slandered, wronged and suspected and passed over instead of promoted unfairly. Keep away from them because they are weak and don’t know it. People get what they deserve. Humble people don’t stick up for themselves and get abused.”

I asked Ed if he saw being humble as a poor character trait, and he told me that it never was a very common trait. He believed it had been extinct for years, and nobody misses it. Has the number of modest, or those who see themselves as no better than other people, declined? Has the number of people who consider themselves as better than others increased? Have all the ordinary people vanished, and has everyone become extraordinary today? Ed claimed that he isn’t like other farmers as farmers are a vast assortment of individuals. My neighbor concluded that all preachers are ordinarily boring and that all lawyers are commonly rich, but not one of them is humble.

Humility or being humble is a good thing in the Bible. It results in submitting to God and legitimate authority. To be humble is to be aware of one’s limit of talents, abilities and authority. It is about giving honor that is due to God and to others, because they surpass one’s virtues, authority and talents. We are told in the Bible that God saves the humble, guides the humble in what is right, crowns the humble with salvation and gives grace to the humble. Moses was a very humble man, according to scripture. Jesus described himself as gentle and humble in heart. We are to humble ourselves like a little child before God. With our fellow Christians, we are to be completely humble and gentle; patient, bearing one another in love that leads to unity and a bond of peace. The Bible instructs us not to do anything out of vain conceit. We are not only to look to our interests, but the interests of others.

It is not humility if we want to be preferred, loved, esteemed, consulted, and approved above others. Humility is a desire for others to increase in the love of God that no one deserves, but is freely given to the humble.

 

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Raymond Maher
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