In order to start a discussion about humility we need to take a look at pride.
Pride is the cultivation, preservation or exalting of self. ~Bob Krepps
It’s perfectly proper for humble people to celebrate every accomplishment, ability, and blessing. The problem occurs when people believe they deserve, have earned, or have the right to the praise and/or preferential treatment because of those things.
C.S. Lewis wrote the following about pride and humility.
“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man… It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.”
Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.
Genuine humility is not putting yourself down. Genuine humility is what puts “self” in perspective by applying the following three truths…
3 Steps to Genuine Humility
1. Praise and thank God for every accomplishment, ability, and blessing. – Recognize that everything is a gift. Everything! Each talent, gift, possession, and relationship is a blessing from the hand of a loving God.
2. Always do your best. - You are only a steward (manager) of each gift you’ve been given. Excellence is an important part of humility, using every blessing to glorify God as a humble act of gratitude and praise.
3. Use your gifts to serve others. – God gives time, health, wealth, abilities, and talents so they can be used to glorify Him and benefit others. Those with genuine humility use their gifts to serve and bless others.
Let’s look at a few Scripture verses that talk about humility:
Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Colossians 3:12-13
The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. ~ Jesus, Matthew 23:11-12
When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. Philippians 2:3 (NCV)
Finally, read this bit of practical wisdom from Mother Teresa in her book, The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living.
“These are the few ways we can practice humility:
To speak as little as possible of one’s self.
To mind one’s own business.
Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.
To avoid curiosity.
To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.
To pass over the mistakes of others.
To accept insults and injuries.
To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.
To be kind and gentle even under provocation.
Never to stand on one’s dignity.
To choose always the hardest.”
Let’s Talk: Do you think pride is a problem for most people? How can you tell the difference between real and feigned humility?