Why Bother with Humility?

It is always the secure who are humble.  ~Gilbert Keith Chesterton

I chose to become a Christian. It was not forced upon me by threat of pain or death. My beloved grandfather was heartbroken that I aligned myself with the Protestants, but this was how my journey began. I started reading the New Testament in the fifth grade, courtesy of the Gideons, who were allowed into the schools, back then. At the same time, such a tumultuous time was beginning in my parental home that I sought solace in the words I barely could understand at the time. My Pastor said that I should pray for the Holy Spirit to give me understanding and that He would. It began working in the form of my noticing context clues to help fill in the voids that words such as thou, thy, canst, etc., left in my cognition. That was back in the days of the King James Version being the only readily available version.

To bear His name, it is my responsibility to study and behold His life and words as my example. He was the Champion of the outcasts–the tax collectors, the women, the lepers and cripples, the poor, the “foreigners”, the unlearned. How often I fail Him and it tears at my heart. A contrite spirit and a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:16,17) is exactly what He desires to be able to mold me into His likeness. Humility. Otherwise, I keep getting in my own way—my own worst enemy. I can allow Jesus to break my heart or I can allow the world to break my mind and pollute my spirit. I need to learn to willingly be broken on the Rock of Ages. The only possible result is a healed heart and a humbled spirit. These are not bad results-quite the contrary!

Jesus taught that we have no right to judge anyone different from us. I’m not talking about criminality here, but about spirituality. Each has his own walk and needs fine tuning in his own areas. Especially me. If I demand that you become like me, then I am a blasphemer and a fool. There would be no truth in me. It is our great fortune that the gentle, meek, humble, and loving Jesus is our judge AND our jury. He earned that right; given by His, and our, Father. He instructs us to baptize the willing of the nations in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. No mention of your name or my name. That is significant.

We are sinners and will make mistakes. What Jesus prayed for, committed to, and exemplified for us, was LOVE, FORGIVENESS, and PURITY OF HEART. He outlined these in the Sermon on the Mount with what we have termed the Beatitudes. When younger, I wondered if there were “don’t be” attitudes! Yes, actually, there are. Anything the opposite of the “be” attitudes!  

 Matt 5: 1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, 2 and He began to teach them, saying:  3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.  6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.  7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Here, we are presented with so much on which to think and pray. I will focus on verses 10-12. How could I ever have the type of humility that would accept suffering and ridicule and be glad for it? It so much goes against my nature. We are not called to seek out suffering and abuse, in general. We are called to be faithful, even in the face of suffering that comes not of our own foolishness, but as happens to most people at one time or another, so that they might use it to glorify God. These are the words of Christ, Himself. It is not my duty to re-interpret them and claim that I know “what Jesus really meant.” These are not parables; they are direct words to show us how to behave.

This brings to mind a conversation I had several years ago with my aunt, who was dying of cancer. I was hesitant to talk to her; not because I did not love her, but because I simply did not know what to say. Yet, the Holy Spirit kept her on my mind and in my prayers. Finally, as is often the case with me, I could stand it no longer and I just had to put on my “big girl panties” and make the call.

I asked her how she was “really” doing. She told me that she felt she had won a few battles in the past but now was losing the war. Then, what I had feared the most actually transpired. She said, “Rob, I ask myself, why me?”

Now, this was “it.” I said what perhaps was the quickest prayer of my lifetime, so far, “Please give me some words to comfort her.” I so did not want to mess this up!  

My aunt would be the first to admit she was a pretty good sinner! She had her struggles, as do we all. Yet, God was so patient with her. She learned to be a humbled, contrite spirit with a humbled and contrite heart. She willingly was broken so that He could heal her. Not physically, but in the most important way–spiritually.

I do not claim to be any special purveyor of God’s messages. I was in a tough spot and I do believe that God literally smacked me in the head, so to speak, and had pity on my poor, suffering aunt. It was not for me; it was for her. These words came to mind, and I shared them: “You have spent many years trying to show your children how to live with faith. Maybe now, you need to show them how to stay faithful when your prayers don’t get the answer you want.” In other words, how to come to death with faith, as well.

Is this not the truest trial of our faith? How I pray to remember those words when I need them for my children.

I loved my Aunt Geri and I know she died still clinging to her faith in her Savior. Through her, I learned that God will not abandon us when we want to comfort or encourage others. Sometimes we need only to be still, be quiet, and be listening with a humble spirit.

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~ by saginawrobin on March 14, 2012.

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