Humility is a double edged sword
-Rev Melissa Fain-
This is part of a new series on the seven virtues. Consider starting from the beginning!
"Pride Comes Before the Fall"
"Pride comes before the fall." If I never hear that phrase again the world will be a better place! Pride is one of those words that clearly carry it's own vice and virtue all its own. There are few who would question what's wrong with personal pride in a job well done. It's only when we slide that pride into the deadly sin category we begin to shudder a little at the implications.
Bad pride is a cement. It's our inability to change once we know we're wrong. Bad pride would rather live in a past lie, than a potential future. Bad pride is a hope killer. Yep, you read that right. Pride is the killer of God's hope. That kind of pride is deadly dangerous.
Humility When Tied to Deadly Pride
The virtue of humility is the ability to see the bigger picture. If pride is cement, humility is the jack hammer. It breaks up our stubborn nature to see the hope on the horizon. It sets us free. We don't admit our failure to cower or fall in. We admit failure because it's failure. It keeps us from God's path. Accepting what has been with clear vision, allows us to move on.
Humility When Weaponized
I really need to stress that I used to be an introvert. I know I said this just a few weeks ago, but no one who knows me today would be able to pick me out from a line up twenty plus years ago. And sincerely, when I say introvert what I really mean to say is broken extrovert. There was a time that simply standing up for myself was a huge accomplishment. Getting in front of a group of people and just stating something simply and sufficiently was a challenge.
I wanted to celebrate when I was able to pull it off.
Only there were those around me who thought everything should be done in supplication, head lowered, never taking credit. I mean, these were people who didn't need to take credit, because they were out in the lime light. They never needed to say what they did because everyone could clearly see they were the ones who did it.
I, on the other hand, used to be someone no one noticed. Literally, there were days the teacher would take role and to my face say, "Where's Melissa? She's late!" There'd be days I'd be in a room of people where the leader counted who was in the room and they wouldn't count me. How would I know it wasn't me. When they'd recount, they'd use their finger and pass over me as they counted! You mean to tell me, God wanted that person, my younger broken self, to be seen less?!
I remember living in that complete unworthiness. I wasn't worth it. I failed because I wouldn't amount to anything. I was ignored, because there were people worth more attention.
It was in college, sitting across from my minister, telling her I was going into ministry, that something clicked.
Humility as an Action of Hope
When I decided to talk about my call to ministry, I seriously thought people would laugh in my face. I was a C student in middle school, and by no means any greater than average in high school. My denomination required a Masters level study to be an ordained minister. I wasn't good enough.
Then my minister raised up my call, and celebrated it.
It changed my view on humility. Humility is accepting what God has called you to do, even if you don't feel you are in a place to do it. Many of us get the negating side of humility. Tesla dug ditches so he could fund his work. Many will sacrifice glory for the sake of the call. We often forget that sometimes humility is also accepting something bigger and greater in our nothingness.
Now this doesn't change what I think of myself. When someone tells me my words moved them I try to take myself out of the equation. (After all, God once used a donkey to talk to a prophet.) When I glorify myself I give myself too much credit in a world where God deserves so much more. I just remember there are times when the call is to speak, so I speak. Humility has become sometimes opening myself up instead of closing myself off.
Humility is accepting failure, because in accepting failure I'm accepting what can no longer be, and using the pieces to build something new.
I'm living into hope.