“On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.”
― Michel de Montaigne
Timothy Keller posted this on FB: “Real humility is shy.” I’ve been pondering that concept in relationship to the scared echo of pride awareness in my own life.
Sadly, that deepest, darkest sin oozes through every other sin. It flashes a vain face when I struggle with envy, when I gossip or judge, and when I respond with impatience. Pride says, “I’m worth thinking about. I’m worth having the best (or, “I am the best.”), I deserve…xyz,” and we set ourselves up as our king, judge of others, and lord of the manor.
In God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life, Timothy Keller states, “Pride not only looks down on others; it also fails to look upward. It refuses to let God take his proper role in our lives. The Hebrew word for proud is ge’eh. Applied to God it means supreme majesty, so to use it for a human being is ironic but also very telling.”
Not only does pride elevate us above others–or perhaps because it does so–pride leaves little room for empathy or selflessness. Pride pushes out friendship. “Pride keeps us from really noticing people. If the proud see someone suffering, they think they are too smart to let that happen to them, or they feel too sorry for themselves about their own problems to care about someone else’s.” Yikes, I’ve definitely been there: mentally, if not verbally, I’ve said, “I just can’t deal with your problems today. I have enough of my own.” Of course, we shouldn’t neglect our own families, nor cater to unhealthy codependent people. But when I declare my own needs above all others at all times, I’m saying, “I’m put on this earth to make myself happy,” and that, my friend, is not the Gospel.
As a friend said, “Just when I think I’m starting to make progress toward humility, than I lose it.” We laughed, but of course, it makes sense. Humility isn’t achieved through thinking of ourselves at all; humble people just don’t contemplate their own significance much. They rest in God’s truth, grace, holiness, and overwhelming mercy. They keep their eyes upward and outward, not inward.
” True humility is all about focusing on others. So even when we are barraging ourselves and putting ourselves down, we are still focusing on ourselves, which is pride.” ~Mark Ballenger
“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” (Prov. 19:11).
” When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” (Prov. 11:2)
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…” (Phil. 2:3-5).
“Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.” (Prov. 3:34)