As we journey towards Easter this year, let's take a moment to consider the virtue of humility. I think it's one of the most misunderstood concepts. Contrary to what some think, humility is not "the opposite of pride". Nor is it having (or exercising) low self-esteem or self-degradation. Simply put, humility is honesty. If we look at the dictionary definition of humility it is the "modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance…". Notice it isn't a low opinion of oneself. Humility is honest. It's moderate—middle-of-the-road. It is knowing and recognizing our strengths and weaknesses, desires and fears, devoid of ego; and understanding that, regardless of our personal endowments or worldly accomplishments (or lack of them), we are not worth more or less than another human being—especially in the eyes of God, Who loves saint, sinner and straddler equally.
To practice humility brings many benefits: serenity, level-headedness, a deeper relationship with Christ, confidence, and more. The greatest man ever to set foot on earth—God the Son, Himself—without whom "nothing came to be" (cf. Jn 1) was perfectly humble. He stooped to wash the apostles' feet while simultaneously acknowledging He was (is) the Messiah.
The difficulty in practicing humility is that it goes against our sinful nature. Humility is clouded by "I" trouble. We think about ourselves an awful lot, don't we? We seek recompense when we're wronged because that's only fair to "us." We strive to be loved because "we" don't want to be alone, we want to be highly regarded by others because it makes "us" feel good or furthers "our" careers or relationships. It's all about "me"…that wretched I trouble!
Instead of focusing on ourselves, if we truly want to be blessed with all the benefits that come with being humble, we need to turn our eyes and hearts towards Christ. His opinion of us is the only one that matters, so we should neither be driven by the desire to be esteemed in the eyes of men, nor fear the rejection of man. We should praise God for our endowments (or lack of them), thank Him for each blessing, and be our brother's keeper by a firm and honest desire to see said brother find success. When we can do that honestly, we'll discover the peace that surpasses all understanding. (cf. Phil 4)
This week, I invite you to join me right here as we take steps to pray for humility—to ask God to rid our flesh of the desire for man's approval and the fear of not having it.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves." (Mt 11:29)
Let's pray: From the desire of being esteemed and the fear of being suspected, deliver me, Jesus. Amen!