Humility has gotten a bum rap

By Judy Jackson

In John 8:12, Jesus calls us to follow Him, promising that we will “never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” For the past few weeks (see previous blogs), we’ve considered that to reflect “the light of life” we need to…

• live a life of love
• live a life of integrity
• live a life of goodness

Staying with the acrostic theme (using the letters in the word “light”), we also need to live a life of humility.

Humility has gotten a bum rap.

Somewhere along the way we started giving prizes for “most boisterous” or “arrogant,” and downplaying the “most considerate” or “humble.” We seem to have forgotten Jesus’ words: The first shall be last and the last shall be first. Or as Peter reminded us in 1 Peter 5:5-7, Clothe yourselves … with humility toward one another for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God so that, at the proper time, he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.

Do you remember Peter’s story?
He is typically remembered as the “leader of the pack.” He was that rowdy fisherman-turned-fisher-of-men who was always the one to answer first when Jesus asked a question. He didn’t mind the attention … on the introvert–extrovert scale, he scored way high as an extrovert.

And yet it was this man who said, “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.” He knew from personal experience that pride could get in the way big time and he was trying to save God’s people the grief and pain he had gone through. I love that Peter acknowledged that, while humility doesn’t come easy, it does come with rewards. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time, he may exalt you.

Peter had fallen hard. He had denied Jesus … the Man of whom he had earlier proclaimed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” When the going got tough, Peter got going far away … and he suffered emotionally for it.

But Jesus didn’t leave Peter in that state. After His resurrection, Jesus sought Peter out on the beach and offered him an opportunity for restoration. Peter humbled Himself and received Jesus’ words: “Now feed my sheep.” Jesus commissioned this once arrogant man to be not just His follower but a leader in His church.

Being humble does not mean you can’t be the extrovert God created you to be. It does mean, however, that we need to let God blow our horns and set us up for the future He has in store for us! Let’s tell our God stories … that’ll put the credit where the credit’s due!